NFC North: CampTour'12 Vikings

CampTour'12: Vikings Day 3

August, 5, 2012
MANKATO, Minn. -- Some thoughts and observations from the final Minnesota Vikings practice of CampTour'12:
  • On one of the final plays of the night, rookie receiver Greg Childs suffered an injury significant enough to leave him screaming in pain. Coach Leslie Frazier didn't have any immediate information on its severity or nature, but it happened about 10 feet in front of me as I watched practice from the end zone. Childs jumped to catch a ball thrown slightly behind him. It bounced away, and Childs landed awkwardly. He initially clutched his right leg, but a team of medical officials were also examining his left leg. Eventually, four men lifted him, his legs fully extended, onto a cart.
  • Childs, whom we profiled in the spring, tore the patella tendon in his right knee in October 2010. The Vikings have been excited about his size and potential, and he made the catch of camp Thursday.
  • Frazier did confirm that offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz will undergo surgery for a sports hernia and will miss at least a month. That in essence makes Brandon Fusco the Vikings' unquestioned right guard.
  • During an extended special teams period, rookie place-kicker Blair Walsh converted seven of eight attempts, including one from 50 yards. Based on unofficial practice tracking from Tom Pelissero of, Walsh has now converted 24 of 26 field goals during team drills in training camp.
  • Quarterback Christian Ponder hit receiver Percy Harvin on a slant for a touchdown in an early team drill, but afterwards he was lamenting an overthrow on a deep post route to receiver Jerome Simpson. "At this level," Ponder said, "you can't miss those."
  • Rookie cornerback Josh Robinson got his first extensive action since injuring a hamstring early in camp. Robinson showed up on several plays, including a tip-away of an earlier pass intended for Childs.

CampTour'12: Vikings Day 1

August, 2, 2012
MANKATO, Minn. -- A few thoughts and observations after our first day of practice with the Minnesota Vikings:

  • Compared to my other stops in this tour, the Vikings spend a lot of on-field time installing plays and reviewing at slow speeds. Their hour-long morning walk-through is, by definition, a half-speed practice. And for the first hour or so of the full-pads afternoon practice, players moved quietly and deliberately through movements that were clearly focused toward mental execution.
  • The final 75 minutes of the afternoon practice were active. Off the top, the Everson Griffen Fan Club will be happy to note their hero crashed through the line in a goal-line team drill and crushed tailback Jordan Todman short of the end zone. Todman sprained his ankle on the play and did not return.
  • I'll have more on this later, but I spoke with coach Leslie Frazier about Griffen to understand how permanent or full-time his move to linebacker might be. Frazier absolutely left open the possibility of Griffen getting some time at defensive end but said this is the time to find out what he could give the team as a linebacker. The reality is Griffen is probably the Vikings' third-best defensive end behind Jared Allen and Brian Robison.
  • Rookie receiver Greg Childs made the catch of the day in the corner of the end zone, leaping over cornerback Brandon Burton and trapping a Joe Webb pass on Burton's back. He held on for the touchdown.
  • Quarterback Christian Ponder missed on a few throws you would like to see him make, but the difference between now and what we saw at training camp last summer and is night and day. Ponder stayed in the pocket and was decisive on most of the throws I saw, which is always an important point for a young quarterback. The best throw I saw him make was about a 35-yard floater down the right sideline, one that sailed over the shoulder of cornerback Chris Cook and into receiver Percy Harvin's hands.
  • Cook made two nice interceptions that I saw, including one of quarterback Sage Rosenfels about one second after he whipped his head around to look for the ball.
  • Speaking to reporters afterwards, Ponder said that tight end Rhett Ellison has "some crazy" in him and suggested that receiver Jerome Simpson is pushing Harvin to be better this summer. I'll be looking for evidence of both in the coming days.