Minor roster moves
The Vikings officially announced the signing of seventh-round pick Chandler
Williams today, and they also released two players, rookie defensive lineman Joe Anoai from Georgia Tech and offensive lineman Andy Olemgbe from Texas Southern.
“I’m glad to have the contract taken care of,” Williams said. “It’s official now and I can
put my focus on making the team and contributing in any way possible, be it offense, special
teams or wherever I fit best.”
NFL Europa update
WR Justin Surrency started and led the Amsterdam Admirals with four receptions for 30 yards in the Admirals’ 30-7 loss to Cologne on Friday. Surrency also returned 5 kickoffs
for 110 yards. Opposing him was Vikings CB Jerron Wishom, who posted two tackles and defended a pass for Cologne.
Jimmy Martin started at left tackle for the Rhein Fire in their 23-10 loss to Frankfurt on Saturday.
There are three more weeks remaining before the World Bowl in Frankfurt. Wishom plays for Cologne, a team tied for first place.
The Vikings wrapped up four days of organized team activities today with one final practice.
Next up is next weekend's mandatory minicamp, which runs from June 1-3, and coach Brad Childress said he expects cornerback Antoine Winfield to attend.
"It's a mandatory minicamp, so yeah I expect him," Childress said.
Winfield, whose agent has said he will attend minicamp, was the only unexcused absence at this week's voluntary practices.
Kicker Ryan Longwell was excused from today's practice to attend a graduation.
Running back Chester Taylor, defensive end Darrion Scott and linebacker Jason Glenn had previously been excused.
Also: The Vikings came to terms with another draft choice as seventh-round pick Chandler Williams, a wide receiver from Florida International, agreed to a four-year contract. For those of you scoring at home, that's two draft choices down and six to go.
Comings and goings
Guard Steve Hutchinson joined this week's organized team activities today after being excused for the first two days to attend a charity golf tournament.
In addition to AWOL cornerback Antoine Winfield, two players were missing from the indoor practice.
Defensive end Darrion Scott was excused for personal reasons and safety Darren Sharper left for New Jersey to continue his work as an analyst on NFL Europa games.
Running back Chester Taylor will be excused from Friday's practice to attend a funeral and linebacker Jason Glenn has been excused for personal reasons.
Hold the blitz
Leslie Frazier played in a blitzing defense with the Chicago Bears and helped coach one with the Philadelphia Eagles, but the Vikings' new defensive coordinator hopes he doesn't have to get too blitz-happy this season.
"I don't want to use the word big on blitzes," Frazier said. "I think there's an appropriate time for blitzes and some of that has to do with your personnel in the back row. ... I would prefer that we could rush four and play Cover 2 all day long, if it were up to me, but it doesn't always happen that way."
Frazier, asked if cornerback Antoine Winfield's absence from this week's voluntary practices is a concern, said not at this time.
"I know when he gets here, he's going to do a great job for us," Frazier said. "So at this point, no. Not at all."
The Vikings opened four days of organized team activities (OTA) today without cornerback Antoine Winfield, and coach Brad Childress had no explanation for the player's absence.
"I really don't know," Childress said. "You have to ask him that. He hasn't been here in the offseason program, and that's a guy's prerogative. ... Our players know how important this time of year is, and when you've had 96 percent of your guys here over the course of the offseason program, I need to focus on the guys that are here working hard, putting in every day."
Childress said he has spoken to Winfield on occasion this offseason, although not on a consistent basis, and wouldn't speculate whether Winfield would attend the team's mandatory minicamp June 1-3.
"I'm not even thinking about that," Childress said. "I'm thinking about the guys that are here and what we've got to get done here in the next four or five days."
Asked if Winfield had requested a trade, Childress said, "He hasn't approached me about a trade, no."
Asked if Winfield had made a trade request of anyone else in the organization, Childress said, "To my knowledge, no."
Today's only other absentee was guard Steve Hutchinson, who was excused to attend a charity golf tournament.
Defensive end Erasmus James, who is recovering from knee surgery, was the only player to miss practice because of medical reasons.
The Vikings signed rookie QB Tyler Thigpen, a seventh-round draft pick, to a contract Friday.
Thigpen was the 217th pick in the draft, out of Coastal Carolina.
“It’s a great relief to have the contract done and a weight off my shoulders,” Thigpen said in a statement. “Playing in the NFL some day is something every kid thinks about when they first pick up a football. It’s like a dream come true to actually be in the NFL now, and I look forward to getting
work and helping this team.”
The Vikings have seven other rookies to sign.
Thigpen helped lead Coastal to the NCAA Division I-AA playoffs in 2006 and is the
most decorated player in school history. He is the first player drafted from the Big South
Conference and from Coastal. Thigpen was a consensus All-American as a senior and finished seventh in the balloting for the Walter Payton Award, honoring the I-AA offensive player of the year.
The team did not announce terms of the deal. Seventh round picks usually sign three-year deals with modest signing bonuses.
Vikings continue TV deals
The Vikings agreed to a three-year television partnerships with KSTP, KMSP and FSNN.
KSTP will continue to be the Vikings' preseason home, airing all available games leading into the regular season, and KMSP will be the home of Vikings football during the regular season. In addition, FSNN will continue to be the home of the 30-minute
“Vikings Weekly” program airing 52 weeks per year, plus other Vikings-related special programs.
“We are excited to expand our television programming and create additional opportunities for our fans to be involved with Vikings football,” said Steve LaCroix, the Vikings vice president of sales and marketing. "Partnering with multiple stations allows us to reach more fans and bring Vikings football into more homes in the upper Midwest.”
Kluwe signs tender
According to the league docket, P Chris Kluwe signed his tender, enabling the Vikings to retain exclusive rights.
In a completely different development, former Vikings second round draft pick Kailee Wong is expected to be released by the Houston Texans today. Wong was offered a lucrative salary to be a backup, but he refused and wanted to play elsewhere.
After four seasons with the Vikings, Wong signed with the Texans and has become the team's all-time leader with 15 sacks.
Vikings head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman said DE Erasmus James is on course to be available at training camp.
"He’s doing fine," Sugarman said. "Erasmus has made great progress over the course of the last two months. He’s running in the pool. He’s doing everything we ask, and showing every indication that he’ll be out there for training camp when we go to Mankato. That’s our goal."
Other than James, the only other player who will not be able to fully participate in the OTAs next week is S Mike Doss.
More players added
The Vikings announced the signing of two players, G Andy Olemgbe and DB Chad Johnson.
Olemgbe is 6-3, 305 pounds and played at Texas Southern. Johnson is 5-11, 200 pounds and played at Northwestern State
Adrian Peterson in the clear
The Vikings held an informational session at Winter Park today to explain exactly where prized rookie RB Adrian Peterson is at with his shoulder injury.
Specifically, Peterson has a left clavicle fracture. But team doctor Joel Boyd and trainer Eric Sugarman made clear that Peterson is healing naturally and will not require surgery at this time.
A CT scan on Tuesday compelled Boyd and Sugarman to share this information with reporters today.
"I feel good," Peterson said. "It hasn’t been giving me any problems. So it’s good news."
If Peterson had a plate inserted, he would have been out three to six months.
"The fracture is well on its way, and now it would be best to let it heal in a natural way," Boyd said. "At ths point and time, I’m not anticipating that he’s going to require surgery for it."
Sugarman and coach Brad Childress said Peterson will not be at all limited when training camp begins in late July, and he also is fully participating in the off-season conditioning program now.
The team will make a custom device for Peterson. But Sugarman said it will be hard to even notice.
Asked what Peterson can do to aid healing, Childress said, "Drink milk."
Interestingly, Sugarman and Boyd clarified all the confusion about Peterson's injury. After initially breaking the clavicle Oct. 14 against Iowa State, Peterson aimed to heal up for Oklahoma's finale in the Fiesta Bowl Jan. 1.
Peterson was cleared to play, but he re-injured the clavicle early, unbeknownst to him or anyone else.
"He felt some pain in his shoulder. He didn’t really think much of it," Sugarman said. "He said he thought that’s the way it should feel, since he hadn’t played in seven weeks."
Peterson finished the game, but he complained to Oklahoma trainers later in the month about persistent pain.
Peterson said on Wednesday that he did not rush back and had no regrets about how things have transpired.
A CT scan on Jan. 30 revealed the re-injury.
At the NFL Combine a few weeks later, NFL team doctors did not have access to that latest CT scan, and they thought his injury was not progressing well enough.
But things were not cleared up until March 30, at the re-checks in Indianapolis.
Although the Vikings will not have to play without Peterson for three to six months, there were other discouraging reasons not to insert a plate to aid healing. There is the risk of infection, nerve damage and the matter of re-breaking the clavicle to insert the plate to begin with.
"Actually, down the road, patients that plate it have a higher risk of re-fracture than those who let it heal naturally on its own," Boyd said.
T-Jack to showcase skills
Tarvaris Jackson will participate in the 2007 NFL Quarterback Challenge in the Cayman Islands on May 19.
The other quarterbacks are: Jason Campbell of the Washington Redskins, Jon Kitna of the Detroit Lions, Byron Leftwich of the Jacksonville Jaguars and Alex Smith of the San Francisco 49ers.
Not a real stellar group. But I will be curious to see how Tarvaris does in some of the events.
Unfortunately, this won't air until August.
There are competitions that will test accuracy, speed and mobility, distance, and the no-huddle.
Moss slammed by former Raider coaches
The Oakland Raiders apparently felt like they got a lemon in a trade with the Vikings.
Former Raiders head coach Art Shell and offensive coordinator Tom Walsh had some unpleasant things to say about Moss to the Boston Globe.
"Randy Moss is a player whose skills are diminishing, and he's in denial of those eroding skills," Walsh told the Globe. "Randy was a great receiver but he lacked the work ethic and the desire to cultivate any skills that would compensate for what he was losing physically later in his career."
Said Shell: "This is a guy who couldn't practice last year but he's going to jump up and run a 40 for somebody? I never had a problem with him, but he's one of those guys where it's always everybody else's fault but his."
Here is what Green Bay Packers quarterback Brett Favre had to say about the Randy Moss trade and Fox Sports report that he requested a trade from the Pack:
"I was frustrated a couple weeks back when Randy Moss was traded to New
England. I never wanted to be traded and I don't want to be traded. I want
to be in Green Bay. I want to finish my career as a Packer. Sometimes when I
get frustrated I let my emotions get the better of me.
"As I said in February when I announced that I was coming back, I am excited
about the young talent on our team and the improvements we're going to see
from one year to the next. I really enjoy the young guys I'm playing with. I
'm working hard down in Mississippi right now, rehabbing, and I plan to be
in the best shape of my life.
"I look forward to playing with this team and seeing what we can do. I think
we can be pretty good."
Pretty good, huh? Not a real ringing endorsement.
Vikings to honor Grant
The Vikings will celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bud Grant's hiring as head coach with an honorary lifetime achievement dinner on Sept. 18.
Former Vikings defensive end Carl Eller, longtime trainer Fred Zamberletti and Texas Tech basketball coach Bob Knight will be among the featured speakers at the event, proceeds of which will benefit the Vikings Children's Fund.
Ticket information and location of the dinner will be announced at a later date.
Tomlin gives Russell a chance
The Pittsburgh Steelers signed former Gophers running back Gary Russell on Thursday.
Its been a tough few years for Russell.
In 2005, Russell score 18 touchdowns and gained 1,135 rushing yards. But he flunked out of the University of Minnesota in January 2006 then ran embarrassingly slow at the NFL Combine.
Former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, who is now the Steelers head coach, must have done some research before making this decision.
Vikings sign DT Green
The Vikings added some depth at defensive tackle with the signing of Howard Green, a veteran of three NFL seasons with Baltimore (2002) and New Orleans (2003-04) who was in camp with Miami last summer.
They also added to their coaching staff, naming Derek Mason assistant defensive backs coach.
Mason, who played defensive back at Northern Arizona when Vikings coach Brad Childress was an assistant there, brings 13 seasons as a college assistant, the last two as wide receivers coach at Ohio University.
Green (6-2, 320) played under Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar at LSU.
Adrian Peterson had just 24 receptions in three seasons at Oklahoma, but the Vikings' No. 1 draft choice apparently caught the ball well during the team's three-day rookie minicamp.
Coach Brad Childress, as part of Monday's chalk-talk session with the media, showed tape of several Peterson receptions, including some on which he had to reach out for the ball and catch it away from his body.
The Vikings didn't draft Peterson for his receiving ability, but to this point, they seem satisfied that his hands won't be an issue.
Just back from Winter Park, where Vikings coach Brad Childress presided over a chalk-talk session this evening for a group of media members.
Specific information was for background purposes only, but it was interesting stuff nonetheless.
Vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman started with an explanation of how the team rates players and some real-life examples of how those point-value charts clubs use played out in some draft-day trades.
Vice president of football operations Rob Brzezinski followed with a brief history of the salary cap, a look at where the Vikings and other teams currently stand and an example of how restructuring a contract can create additional cap space.
Childress opened with a statistical look at some of the key areas where the Vikings need to improve over last season and how they correlate to scoring and winning, followed by some of the different coverages used in the Cover 2 defense.
He closed with a highlight-reel look at No. 1 draft choice Adrian Peterson and four other rookies: wide receiver Sidney Rice, defensive end Brian Robison, wide receiver Chandler Williams and undrafted free-agent tight end Braden Jones.
The Vikings wrapped up their three-day rookie minicamp Sunday with one final closed practice.
By NFL rule, the rookies cannot return to the facility until May 15.
The Vikings will hold a voluntary minicamp the following week. The full-squad mandatory minicamp is scheduled for June 1-3.
Day 2 of the Vikings' rookie minicamp included two practices: outdoors in the morning and indoors in the afternoon.
Neither session was open to the media.
The three-day minicamp concludes Sunday with one final practice.
Off and running
No. 1 draft choice Adrian Peterson and his healing right collarbone made it through his first practice with the Vikings in good shape today, but the former Oklahoma running back said there still has been no final decision on whether it will need surgery.
"I'm pretty sure (a decision will be made) eventually," Peterson said. "Right now, I'm just focusing on me. I'm just focused on getting these plays in."
The Vikings aren't taking any chances with Peterson or anyone else during this weekend's three-day rookie minicamp, with players in shorts and helmets and no contact.
Rain forced today's practice indoors, but coach Brad Childress said he hopes to get outside Saturday.
Vikings still have league-high cap space
The Vikings rookie pool is set at about $4.8 million, with a huge chunk allocated for Adrian Peterson, who was the No. 7 pick.
For many teams, that high number would be a concern. But that means little to the Vikings, who have about $500,000 more in cap space than any other club. Right now, the Vikings have $25.5 million in cap space.
Last year, the No. 7 pick, Michael Huff, signed a five-year contract worth between $22.5 million and $26.5 million, including $15 million in guarantees. Potentially, Huff’s deal is worth $43 million.
The good news is, Huff is represented by Ben Dogra, who also represents Peterson.
Here come the rookies
No. 1 pick Adrian Peterson will go through his first workout in a Vikings uniform today as he and the rest of the team's draft class open a three-day rookie minicamp.
In addition to their eight draft choices, the Vikings will have at least 15 undrafted free agents on hand and give tryouts to a number of other prospects, including a pair of former Gophers: offensive tackle Joe Ainslie and defensive back Trumaine Banks.
Today's session is the only one open to the media and all workouts are closed to the public.
Who's No. 2?
Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman told Clark Judge of CBS Sportsline that Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson was the third-ranked player on the team's draft board.
Assuming Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson was one of the two, the second presumably was an LSU player: quarterback JaMarcus Russell (who went No. 1 to Oakland) or safety LaRon Landry (No. 6 to Washington, one pick ahead of the Vikings).
Note: The Vikings will hold their one mandatory minicamp from June 1-3.
According to post-draft odds set by Bodog, Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is a 6-1 choice to win the NFL's offensive rookie of the year award.
Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (4-1) and Buffalo Bills running back Marshawn Lynch (5-1) are the only players with shorter odds than Peterson.
Cleveland Browns quarterback Brady Quinn and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. are tied for sixth at 12-1.
No surgery for AP?
Adam Schefter of NFL Network reports that, "for now," the Vikings have decided No. 1 draft choice Adrian Peterson will not need surgery on his healing right collarbone but will continue to monitor the situation.
Peterson, a running back from Oklahoma, is expected to participate in this weekend's rookie minicamp.
The early reviews are in on the NFL draft and the Vikings earned high marks.
ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. awarded the Purple a B-plus, tied with Cleveland and San Francisco for the highest grade he gave any team.
Sports Illustrated's Paul (Dr. Z) Zimmerman gave the Vikings a B and they had the top draft in the NFC North based on a consensus of nine post-draft report cards compiled by ESPN.com.