Brian Goes to Vikings Training Camp and Takes Notes

Photo: David Berding (USA Today Sports)
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The Vikings put the pads on today for the first time, so camp battles are really starting to heat up over at TCO Performance Center. I actually took in practice #2 from the beautiful Vikings facility yesterday, and here are my thoughts.

*editor’s note: here’s the shortened version if your sunday is busy – follow Brian while you’re there:

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Jaleel Johnson Welcomes Bradbury to NFL

With both Linval Joseph and Shamar Stephen sitting out, Jaleel Johnson got an opportunity to shine. Matched up with rookie first round pick, Garrett Bradbury and the 1’s yesterday, Johnson hiw punches in throughout the matchup. On a few occasions, Johnson was able to swipe away Bradbury’s hands and push him off of his base, to blow up some running plays. Bradbury is adjusting to life in the NFL, and Center isn’t an easy position to go from College to the Pros. The biggest thing that stood out was Jaleel, thoug. He looked strong, quick, and very focused. He will be a guy the Vikings need a big contribution from up-front, as the coaches pick and choose this deep DL rotation.

 Thankful for #14 & #19

Watching both Diggs and Thielen run routes and then chat with each other while the 2nd and 3rd team are getting reps, it really puts into perspective how fortunate we are to have both of them. They are the definition of professional and are both artists at what they do. We need to make sure we appreciate the hell out of them now, and realize the greatness we are watching. Both so smooth, so precise, and two guys who have each other’s backs. Neither are in it for individual accolades. They just want to make each other better, each and every play.

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Kirk Can Move?

You can already see Gary Kubiak’s fingerprints on this new offense. Kevin Stefanski, coming into his first full year as Offensive Coordinator; must feel like a kid on Christmas, with a brain to pick like Kubiak’s. Early on in camp, the different-styled approach they are taking with Cousins has been noticable. He’s done a lot more rollouts and moving around in the pocket… he’s dumped the ball off more too. Not being so “by the book” and moving away from such a robotic playing style is something that he/they have been working on.

He seems more aware of the off-script opportunities there are, with all of the talent on this roster. Kirk Cousins, no doubt, has talent. What the Vikings are trying to do, is remove that robotic computer chip, and have him come out slinging it. As we know, there are big play players all over this offense. If scrambling away and hitting a guy for a 70 yard catch-and-run on a broken play, is an element these coaches can help add to Kirk’s game, it makes this offense that much more dangerous.

Chad Beebe is the WR3

Speaking of smooth. Chad Beebe just has all the looks of this team’s WR3. The only thing holding Chad back is his health. He made an impact last year in the preseason and against the Lions in Detroit, but then that hamstring injury popped up. If he can keep himself healthy, he will be yet another weapon for Kirk Cousins and the Vikings’ offense. Watching him out there in the slot with the 1’s, he is in and out of his routes so precisely and his speed down the field is impressive, as well. Definitely someone to to keep an eye on, going forward. If healthy, I think this job is his to lose.

Elflein is Scaring Me Already

In drafting Garrett Bradbury and moving Pat Elflein back to Guard, there will obviously be some growing pains as #65 gets acclimated to his old position again. I don’t want to overreact because it was practice number 2, no pads, and there is a long ways to go. I’ll just chalk it up to OL PTSD from last season, and move forward. I think ultimately, making that move back to guard will help Pat but keep an eye on Dru Samia, as someone who should be put on notice if the interior OL struggles at all, early on. The NFC North is defined by its interior DL guys, so it’s a spot the Vikings need to have solidified or it’s going to be another long season for our QB and our offense.

Have You Seen or Heard About Hercules?

Hercules Mata’afa… if there is one guy who is full of buzz at Vikings training camp, it’s Herc. Moving him inside as a rusher has been an interesting component since he’s added some weight. All we have seen is his explosiveness and ability to get push up front. Again, all this is meh until the pads come on (right now), but Herc absolutely has all of our attention, and most importantly Mike Zimmer’s attention.

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Treadwell, “The Punt Gunner”.

I mean, if there is a positive we can take out of this, we have been consistent with our 1st Round WR’s. Treadwell has followed the Cordarrelle Patterson route: from 1st round pick, to eliminated from the regular offense, to catching a random TD, to gunner on the 1st team punt unit.

I mean, at least the team has finally admitted their mistake and taken the L. If we are paying him, may as well find a job for him, and punt gunner with his size and strength may actually work.

Brian Heintz | Minnesota Sports Fan

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