NFC North: Andrew Sendejo

Vikings Monday practice report

August, 18, 2014
Aug 18
7:05
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A few observations from the Minnesota Vikings' Monday practice:
  • Safety Robert Blanton was back at practice, but the Vikings were still using Chris Crocker as their first-team safety alongside Harrison Smith. Blanton is listed atop the Vikings' depth chart, but he'll have to earn his way back into the race for a starting spot after missing time with a hamstring injury. Coach Mike Zimmer said Crocker didn't see enough action in Saturday's preseason game for the Vikings to evaluate him properly, but the Vikings seem to want to take a longer look at the 34-year-old. Zimmer said on Monday he's evaluating players like Andrew Sendejo and Kurt Coleman as much for what they do in pass coverage as what they're able to do near the line of scrimmage. That'd explain why Crocker is getting a long look, and why Blanton had put himself in the mix for a starting job before his injury. We'll see if he can reassert himself now that he's back.
  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph, who caught a 51-yard touchdown pass during the Vikings' preseason game on Saturday night, was back at it on Monday, snatching passes away from Crocker and Michael Mauti in tight coverage over the middle. At 6-foot-5, Rudolph is already an inviting target for quarterbacks, and he's shown several times already how much it helped him to drop 15 pounds in the offseason in an effort to be a bigger downfield threat in Norv Turner's offense.
  • In 11-on-11 work on Monday, quarterback Matt Cassel hit 8 of 11 passes, getting one batted down at the line of scrimmage and throwing one away downfield. Teddy Bridgewater went 8-for-10, with his only misses coming to Rodney Smith and Jarius Wright -- who sustained a left ankle injury while trying to catch Bridgewater's sideline pass in tight coverage. And Christian Ponder, who didn't play at all on Saturday night, didn't throw a pass in full-team work during Monday's practice.
  • The Vikings made one roster move on Monday, cutting linebacker Dom DeCicco, who had hip surgery last week, and claiming linebacker Justin Jackson off waivers from Detroit.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Minnesota Vikings continue to try and establish a pecking order at safety, it appears they'll give Chris Crocker every chance to wind up at the top of it.

The 34-year-old, who signed with the Vikings earlier this month and came out of retirement to play his eighth consecutive season for coach Mike Zimmer, will start alongside Harrison Smith on Saturday night against the Arizona Cardinals. Zimmer said the Vikings want to take a long look at four safeties -- Crocker, Jamarca Sanford, Kurt Coleman and Andrew Sendejo -- on Saturday, in hopes of sorting out the position.

That Crocker will start, however, speaks to what could eventually land him the starting job; he's more familiar with Zimmer's defense than anyone else on the roster, and can lend some stability to a position where no one has established a firm hold on the job next to Smith.

Robert Blanton, who is still listed at the top of the Vikings' depth chart at strong safety, will miss Saturday's game with a hamstring injury. Cornerback Josh Robinson -- who's still battling a hamstring injury and appears to be ceding ground to Captain Munnerlyn in the race for a starting cornerback job -- will also sit out. Tight end Chase Ford (broken foot) and defensive tackle Linval Joseph (bullet wound to calf) are the other Vikings players who won't dress.

Fred Evans will start at nose tackle for Joseph, and Matt Asiata will again start at running back in place of Adrian Peterson, who will sit out for a second consecutive week.

Vikings Camp Report: Day 15

August, 14, 2014
Aug 14
7:30
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MANKATO, Minn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Minnesota Vikings training camp:
  • The Vikings will still be without safety Robert Blanton because of a hamstring injury on Saturday night against the Arizona Cardinals, and coach Mike Zimmer wants to use the exhibition game to get a long look at four safeties in particular: Chris Crocker, Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo and Kurt Coleman. It seems reasonable to conclude those four are the ones receiving the strongest consideration to start next to Harrison Smith (at least until Blanton comes back), and Zimmer said he hopes Saturday's game will help sort out the depth chart. "Right now, I am looking for the other safety. That is why I want to play these guys quite a bit this week. I want to see how it goes from there and then try to figure out the rest of the pecking order as we get going. Hopefully, this will be a big week for those safeties."
  • Injuries are also affecting the Vikings' plans at the cornerback spot opposite Xavier Rhodes, where the Vikings have indicated Captain Munnerlyn and Josh Robinson are sharing the No. 1 spot on their recent depth charts. That seems a bit unnecessary, especially since Munnerlyn has been getting many of the first-team snaps in the base defense, but Robinson has been playing outside when Munnerlyn slides into the slot in nickel, and a third cornerback is essentially a starter in the NFL these days, anyway. Robinson, though, was out of practice with a lingering hamstring injury again on Thursday, and Zimmer indicated that's making it tough for him to nail down a spot. "Well, it’s hard to make the club in the tub," Zimmer said when asked if Munnerlyn was entrenched at the other cornerback spot. "I guess that would be a yes. I don’t know if he’s entrenched, but if you’re not going out there and proving it every single day and proving it in the games then it’s hard to know."
  • Zimmer has talked at various points about the advice he picked up from Bill Parcells when he was the Dallas Cowboys' defensive coordinator for four seasons under the Hall of Fame coach. He said on Thursday he was planning an end-of-training-camp call to check in with Parcells and talk about the Vikings at the end of his first camp as the head coach. "I had Coach Parcells' number on my phone today but I didn’t push the button," Zimmer said. "I plan on calling either tonight or tomorrow, just to talk about things."
  • They've become good friends after two years of rooming together at training camp, and Cordarrelle Patterson went out of his way -- literally -- to stick up for Adam Thielen during a drill on Thursday. Both receivers were returning mock kickoffs, starting their runback with a ball in their hands as defenders tried to strip it away. Patterson was waiting in line for his turn when he thought players were trying to rip the ball away from Thielen a little too forcefully. "Get your hands off him," Patterson snapped. "That's a receiver. You don't touch my receivers like that."
  • In the final autograph session of training camp, things got a bit out of hand. Fans were leaning against a chain link fence to get Teddy Bridgewater’s autograph when it collapsed, leaving a row of kids trying to pick themselves up and stay in line for Bridgewater’s signature. St. Paul Pioneer Press photographer Ben Garvin has a fantastic photo of the scene here.
  • The Vikings will head back to the Twin Cities on Friday after a closed walk-through on Friday; Zimmer said the Vikings will go through a mock game, working through different situations and making sure they have the correct substitution packages for those situations. Then, they'll be back at the team facility in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, after Saturday's game. Asked how he thought his first camp went, Zimmer said, "I think it was productive. We were able to come out and work efficiently, work quickly, move to different spots. Hopefully I learned something every day about this team, but they haven’t disappointed me. They have been very willing to do whatever. I heard someone say, 'Buy in;' I guess, maybe. There hasn’t been any complaining, whether that is buying in or not. In training camp there is usually some complaining. I like this team; they are good guys and they work real hard. As long as we play together as a team, we play real hard, we do the things that we are trying to coach them to do, then we have a chance to be a good football team."
MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings' stretch of injuries, particularly at the safety position, might soon be coming to an end.

Coach Mike Zimmer said safeties Mistral Raymond (concussion), Jamarca Sanford (back spasms) and Andrew Sendejo (lower back/ankle) will practice on Monday night, and are expected to be available for Saturday's exhibition game against the Arizona Cardinals.

The only safety who won't be available this week is Robert Blanton, who's still dealing with a hamstring injury. Chris Crocker, whom the Vikings signed last week, will also play on Saturday, giving the Vikings their first real chance to assess the majority of the players competing for a spot next to Harrison Smith.

"It's difficult, because guys aren't practicing as much," Zimmer said. "In the ballgame the other night (last Friday), we had three safeties who weren't playing. We'll sit down and we'll try to get a much better evaluation of the guys who we think need more on tape. This will be a good test with these guys (the Cardinals). They play with four wide (receivers), and they throw the ball around pretty good."

Cornerbacks Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels will return from hamstring injuries, and tight end Chase Ford could return from a broken foot in the next 10 days, possibly clearing the way for him to start the season on the active roster instead of the physically unable to perform list.

"He's close," Zimmer said. "He's probably 10 days, maybe, I'm guessing. We'll see how he runs."

The timetable for the return of defensive tackle Linval Joseph isn't quite as clear; Zimmer said he'd like Joseph to play before the end of the preseason, if his calf is recovered from a gunshot wound he sustained in a nightclub shooting early Saturday morning. "We still have to find out where he's at," Zimmer said. "I don't know that 'Sug' (trainer Eric Sugarman) has dealt with this kind of an injury much. There's no booklet on it."

Vikings Camp Report: Day 9

August, 4, 2014
Aug 4
8:05
PM ET
MANKATO, Minn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Minnesota Vikings training camp:
  • The Vikings quickly put safety Chris Crocker to work after signing him on Monday afternoon; the 34-year-old was in team drills right away, mostly working with the second team. Crocker said he's been working out, but will need a little time to re-acclimate himself to running with the extra weight of pads. Still, his familiarity with coach Mike Zimmer's defense meant the Vikings had no qualms about throwing him into their full-team work on Monday.
  • Linebacker Michael Mauti got some first-team work at strongside linebacker on Monday, and has been largely playing outside after working out at middle linebacker last season. Mauti said he's around 240 pounds, playing at a little lighter weight than last year because of all the running linebackers have to do in Zimmer's scheme (and have had to do in practice). He's now nearly two years removed from his last knee surgery, and said he feels great. Anthony Barr looks like the probable starter at strongside linebacker, but Mauti is trying to make a roster bid based on his versatility. "The more you can do, absolutely (it helps)," he said.
  • The Vikings' quarterbacks weren't asked to throw as much in full-team drills as they have been in recent days. Matt Cassel hit 6 of 9 passes in 11-on-11 work, while Teddy Bridgewater went 8-for-10, rebounding from a tough night on Saturday and finishing his day with some first-team snaps. He targeted his final three throws for Greg Jennings, hitting two of them. Christian Ponder worked with the third team, connecting on 4 of 7 passes, including a drop and two spikes in a two-minute drill.
  • In a practice-it-in-case-of-emergency moment, all three quarterbacks also got some work on pooch punts. Bridgewater was the best of the three there, hitting a couple punts with decent hang time.
  • Tight end Chase Ford, who is on the physically unable to perform list with a broken foot, seems to be recovering quickly; he was out of a walking boot and moving around without a noticeable limp on Monday, as he watched practice in athletic shoes. Safety Andrew Sendejo was back from the PUP list and went through his first practice, as well, as Zimmer tried to get a handle on his crowded safety situation. Tackle Antonio Richardson, however, left with a leg injury late in practice after his leg got rolled on a running play.
MANKATO, Minn. -- For the first time on Monday, Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will get to see safety Andrew Sendejo on the practice field.

Sendejo
The Vikings activated Sendejo from the physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list on Monday, bringing him back from lower back and ankle injuries that had kept him out since the start of the team's offseason program. Sendejo started 10 games last year when injuries decimated the Vikings' secondary, but it had become apparent in recent days that he needed to get back on the field sooner than later to make an impression on Zimmer and assert himself in a crowded race for the starting safety spot opposite Harrison Smith.

It wouldn't be surprising to see the Vikings ease Sendejo back into practice for a day or two, but once he's up to full speed, it bears watching how the team will use him. Robert Blanton seemed to have the inside track on the starting spot until he strained his hamstring last Monday, and a league source said last week Blanton could miss several weeks with the injury. In his absence, Mistral Raymond has gotten some first-team work, and Jamarca Sanford has gotten a longer look after missing time with injuries of his own. Those two, plus Kurt Coleman and rookie Antone Exum, present plenty of competition for Sendejo.

The Vikings are back on the practice field on Monday afternoon, following a day off on Sunday. The team shortened its morning walk-through to special-teams work only, so Monday afternoon will be the first chance to see where Sendejo fits.

 

 
MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings got Cordarrelle Patterson on the practice field for the first time since the start of training camp on Wednesday afternoon, while cornerback Captain Munnerlyn did some side work after returning from a strained hamstring that had him on the physically-unable-to-perform list. While those two players returned -- and two others made progress in their recoveries from injury -- the Vikings had several other players miss practice on Wednesday.

Blanton
Safety Robert Blanton strained his hamstring during a blitz period in Monday's practice, coach Mike Zimmer said, and didn't practice on Wednesday. Cornerback Josh Robinson left with a tight hamstring, which didn't seem to concern Zimmer as much as Blanton's injury did. The safety has seen significant playing time with the first team since the start of the Vikings' OTAs in May, and his injury could alter the team's picture at the safety position opposite Harrison Smith.

A league source said Blanton could miss a few weeks, though his hamstring injury isn't believed to be serious and he could return by the end of the preseason under that timetable. Blanton's absence, though, could open the door for others at the position; Mistral Raymond got some first-team work on Wednesday, and Andrew Sendejo, who hasn't practiced in 2014 while dealing with back and ankle injuries, is nearing a return, Zimmer said.

"I believe he will be starting to come back Monday, when we come back to practice (after an off-day Sunday)," Zimmer said. "That's what I've been told. That's what we're shooting for."

Patterson, who missed the Vikings' first four practices with a minor foot injury, lined up at wide receiver for the first time on Wednesday afternoon. "He looked good," Zimmer said. "He was running good."

Tight end Chase Ford, who broke his foot before training camp, was off crutches and walking in a boot on Wednesday, but Zimmer said he wasn't sure when Ford might be able to return. Tight end A.C. Leonard also left early, but Zimmer said it was simply because of a headache.
MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he's still optimistic about a quick return for wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson from a minor foot injury, and added he thought cornerback Captain Munnerlyn would return to practice from a hamstring strain in short order, as well. The prognosis for safety Andrew Sendejo -- who has been out since the Vikings' spring program with lower back and ankle injuries he sustained last season -- is less certain.

Sendejo still hasn't made much progress in his recovery, Zimmer said on Saturday afternoon. He was working out with Patterson during the Vikings' Saturday practice, but still hasn't had a down of practice time since Zimmer became the Vikings' coach in January.

"It's a concern," Zimmer said. "I haven't seen him one day, so I don't know really anything."

Patterson informed Zimmer about his foot injury the day before the Vikings reported to training camp, and was held out of the Vikings' conditioning test on Thursday. He's been improving since the start of camp, Zimmer said. "It won't be long," he said. "I'd be surprised if it was long [before he practiced]."

Munnerlyn, Zimmer said, should be back "in a couple more days."
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- A look at the highlights from the first day of the Minnesota Vikings' mandatory minicamp on Tuesday:

1. Loaded for Barr: The Vikings got first-round pick Anthony Barr on the field for the first time with their full team on Tuesday, after he graduated from UCLA over the weekend, and head coach Mike Zimmer didn't hesitate to try out some of the different ways he wants to use the linebacker. Barr was at the strong-side linebacker position the Vikings expect him to play, but he also lined up as an edge rusher on some third downs. At 6-foot-4, he's taller than defensive ends Brian Robison and Everson Griffen, and if he can rush from the line of scrimmage, the Vikings can present a number of different looks to confuse opposing offenses, especially when Griffen's versatility enters the equation.

[+] EnlargeMinnesota's Anthony Barr
Bruce Kluckhohn/USA TODAY SportsFirst-round pick Anthony Barr participated on the field on the first day of Vikings' mandatory minicamp.
2. Robinson returns: Cornerback Josh Robinson was back on the field on Tuesday, after missing the Vikings' organized team activities with a muscle pull. He was also back at an outside cornerback position, following last year's failed experiment at slot cornerback. Robinson got plenty of snaps in the Vikings' first-team defense on Tuesday, and could wind up playing in the nickel package once Captain Munnerlyn moves inside.

3. Quarterbacks look sharp: The Vikings ran plenty of play-action and bootleg plays on Tuesday, and all three of their quarterbacks had a successful afternoon practice. Matt Cassel missed just one of the nine throws he attempted in 11-on-11 and was 5-for-5 in 7-on-7 work. Teddy Bridgewater was 15-for-17 in 11-on-11 action and 4-for-5 in 7-on-7, and Christian Ponder hit all four throws he attempted. Ponder again got fewer snaps than Cassel or Bridgewater, but he looked good in what he was asked to do. "Everyone's getting reps with the ones and twos," Ponder said. "I'm not getting as many reps as the other guys, but I'm trying to take full advantage, and we'll see what happens. I don't know how long the evaluation process is going to be. I'm hoping it goes into training camp and preseason games, but we'll see."

4. Jennings impresses: Wide receiver Greg Jennings, who missed the Vikings' open OTA last week because of a charity event, caught four balls on the first day of minicamp, and saved his best for last, reaching out for a one-handed grab over the middle on a throw from Cassel in 7-on-7.

5. Middle linebacker plan emerges? The Vikings used Jasper Brinkley, Chad Greenway and Michael Mauti at middle linebacker on Tuesday, noticeably keeping Audie Cole on the outside after Cole played the middle at the end of last season. Brinkley has gotten more first-team work than anyone else in the middle, so far, but Zimmer cautioned not to read too much into that. "We have to line them up somewhere when we go, but I don't look at this guy is the favorite or that guy is the starter," he said. "(Brinkley)'s lined up with the first team right now, but I don't know, once we get him in practice and games and the things that prepare us for games and for the season, that will determine who lines up there on Sept. 7."

6. Safeties still limited: Jamarca Sanford was able to do a little more work after missing OTAs with a muscle injury, but the Vikings were mostly using Robert Blanton, Mistral Raymond, Antone Exum and Kurt Coleman, with Blanton often pairing with Harrison Smith in 7-on-7 drills. Safety Andrew Sendejo was still limited with a back injury. Tight end Allen Reisner sat out, and running back Joe Banyard was a limited participant. Matt Kalil and Linval Joseph were again limited after knee and shoulder surgeries this offseason, but Zimmer said he expects both to be ready for training camp.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings begin the final -- and probably most significant -- event of their offseason program on Tuesday, when they convene at the team facility for a three-day minicamp. It will be the final team event before training camp begins in late July, and it will give coach Mike Zimmer his best barometer of where the Vikings stand before the end of the offseason.

As the Vikings get started, here are four things we're watching:

Barr
1. Barr gets started: Linebacker Anthony Barr, the Vikings' top pick in the 2014 draft, will finally get to practice with the full team after graduating from UCLA on Saturday. The Vikings plan to use him at strong-side linebacker, at least in their base defense, but it seems likely Zimmer will develop a number of different ways to use the rookie. He might try to keep those under wraps as long as he can, even into the preseason, but the Vikings clearly see Barr bringing a unique element to their pass rush. Zimmer said he plans to bring the Vikings' three late-arriving draft picks -- Barr, third-rounder Scott Crichton and fifth-round David Yankey -- along a little slowly at first, but the minicamp will provide Barr's first opportunity to show how much he can handle.

2. Safety shuffle:The Vikings have been rotating several safeties through their No. 1 defense alongside Harrison Smith, with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo sitting out because of injuries, and it will be interesting to see if they get closer to settling on anything over the next few days. It would help to see Sanford and Sendejo on the field, though there's far too little at stake to rush anyone back. Still, the absence of both players has left open some valuable opportunities, and players like Kurt Coleman, Robert Blanton and rookie Antone Exum could get more chances to make an impression.

3. OpportuniTEs: With Norv Turner as their offensive coordinator, the Cleveland Browns lined up with two or more tight ends on 466 snaps last season -- the fourth-most in the NFL, according to ESPN Stats & Information. That means plenty of work for starter Kyle Rudolph, which we knew, but it also leaves a chance for players like Rhett Ellison and Chase Ford to carve out bigger roles. The Vikings had plenty of two-tight end sets last year -- they were 12th in the league with 369 snaps of two or more TEs -- but with John Carlson gone, Ellison and Ford can move up. Ellison's previous success as a run blocker might give him the upper hand.

4. QB derby continues: Rookie Teddy Bridgewater looked good during the Vikings' organized team activities that were open to the media, but the minicamp should offer a more complete picture of where Bridgewater is at this point, especially as he compares to veteran Matt Cassel. The Vikings might wait until training camp to decide on a starter -- or at least to announce one -- but the guess here continues to be that the job is Cassel's, unless Bridgewater is good enough to beat him out. Both players can keep making their cases this week. Christian Ponder, meanwhile, needs to turn things around after a poor set of performances during OTAs; he's talked about having leverage heading into free agency next year, but he needs to convince the Vikings not to cut their losses before then.
MINNEAPOLIS -- As the Minnesota Vikings' safeties learn a defense that should bring much more variety to their roles than they had in the team's old scheme, a group of them is also auditioning for a role alongside Harrison Smith in the Vikings' starting lineup.

Coleman
Blanton
The Vikings have been rotating a number of safeties through their first-team defense during organized team activities, with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo sitting out with injuries. Kurt Coleman, Robert Blanton, Brandan Bishop and rookie Antone Exum have all gotten plenty of work in OTAs, and the Vikings figure to use a number of combinations next week during their minicamp. Coach Mike Zimmer said that the Vikings will likely run through more drills like they did on Thursday, when they had safeties working at something closer to game speed, without as much direction from coaches in between plays.

"I think we'll get a little bit better feel of how it goes the more of this stuff like we did today, where the coaches aren't out there helping them, 'Hey, move this way, move that way. Line up here, line up there,'" Zimmer said at the Vikings' charity golf tournament. "When all the things happen and they have to make adjustments and checks because those guys are a lot like the quarterbacks for the defense when they get back there."

In the Vikings' old Cover 2 scheme, safety was a relatively staid position. The team used a defensive back to rush the passer on just 46 snaps last season, which was the sixth fewest in the NFL. The Cincinnati Bengals, under Zimmer, sent a defensive back after the quarterback on 76 snaps, the 15th most in the league, and Smith said he expects a more diverse set of responsibilities in the Vikings' new defense. Defensive backs coach Jerry Gray has talked about how he'd like to be able to use safeties in man coverage, and even the Vikings' zone coverages will have safeties working more aggressively to eliminate space from receivers, so much so that some of the zones will look like man coverage to the naked eye, Smith said.

"The safeties get to do a lot more, whether it's in coverage, sometimes being the free guy, being able to go make a play on the ball, coming down in the box, getting involved in the run game, blitzing," he said. "You really get to do it all."

That means there's more to be gained from finding the right player to go next to Smith. The competition will get even thicker once Sanford and Sendejo are healthy, but it stands to reason the Vikings will take their opportunities to see a number of different safeties, especially when they'll ask them to be a more dynamic part of their defense.

"Harrison's a smart guy," Zimmer said. "Kurt Coleman's doing a good job. Robert Blanton's doing a good job. We've got a lot of guys who are continually working at those spots. We're just trying to get them in the right position where we can get them to go play."
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings were missing a handful of players because of injuries during Thursday's organized team activities. That included left tackle Matt Kalil, who had an operation four or five weeks ago, coach Mike Zimmer said.

Zimmer would not elaborate on the operation, other than to say it was not on Kalil's shoulder. The 2012 first-round pick was limited to individual drills Thursday.

Safety Andrew Sendejo was also out after having an operation on his back recently, Zimmer said, and cornerback Josh Robinson and safety Jamarca Sanford missed time because of pulled muscles during Wednesday's OTA.s

"They're day-to-day," Zimmer said of Robinson and Sanford. "It's nothing much."

Defensive tackle Linval Joseph is working his way back from a previous injury as well, but Zimmer said Joseph -- who signed a five-year deal with the team in March -- is getting close to returning to the field.
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings offered former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman a contract after meeting with the free agent on Wednesday and Thursday, according to a league source, but Coleman is still weighing his options.

The Vikings confirmed Coleman's free-agent visit on Friday morning, which meant the safety had left the facility without a contract.

Coleman had met with several teams, and arrived in the Twin Cities on Wednesday to begin his visit with the Vikings. However, the contract offer wasn't enough to get him to pull the trigger on a deal on Friday. The Vikings and Coleman could still circle back to one another and come to an agreement at some point.

The former seventh-round pick started 27 games between 2011 and 2012 for the Eagles, but was bumped out of a starting job last season. If he were to sign with the Vikings at some point, he'd likely come in as a special-teams contributor and a backup at both safety spots, where he'd compete with Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo for playing time at one of them.

Kurt Coleman visiting Vikings

April, 10, 2014
Apr 10
8:00
AM ET
MINNEAPOLIS -- Former Philadelphia Eagles safety Kurt Coleman flew to the Twin Cities on Wednesday to begin a free-agent visit with the Minnesota Vikings, as ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported. Coleman will continue his visit with the Vikings on Thursday, and if the Vikings like what they see, they could add Coleman to what already looks like a crowded safety position.

Coleman didn't start in 2013 for the Eagles after making 27 combined starts in 2011 and 2012. He struggled in run support, especially in 2012, missing 15 tackles that season, according to Pro Football Focus. Coleman had two interceptions in 2012, and four in 2011, but mostly played special teams in 2013. He saw his most playing time on defense in the Eagles' 48-30 loss to the Vikings on Dec. 15, playing 27 snaps at safety.

He'd likely come in as a backup safety and a contributor on special teams, but while Harrison Smith likely has one safety spot locked down, Jamarca Sanford and Andrew Sendejo can make no such claim at the other spot. Both played well at times last season, but Sanford will be a free agent next spring after taking a pay cut this year, and Sendejo was solely a special-teams player until injuries forced him into the lineup last year. If the Vikings were to sign Coleman -- heading into a training camp where a new coaching staff figures to invite plenty of competition -- it's conceivable he could fight for playing time.

Coleman had visited the Indianapolis Colts last week, but left without signing a contract. Now, he and the Vikings will discuss whether they might make a good match.
MINNEAPOLIS -- Of the many young players on the Minnesota Vikings' roster who earned playing time and performance bonuses from the NFL for their work last season, right guard Brandon Fusco topped the list.

Fusco earned an extra $237,060.74 for his work last season, giving him the biggest share of the Vikings' $3.46 million total distribution, according to figures released by the NFL management council. The total amount is negotiated in the collective bargaining agreement between owners and players, and while every player gets at least a small bonus, the system is designed to reward low-salaried players who see the most playing time.

For a team like the Vikings, that meant a number of players saw big boosts to their paycheck; Fusco made just $594,167 last season, and he started 15 games.

See the NFL's full list of performance-based pay distributions here.

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