Here are some quick hits from Friday afternoon’s practice.
- Christian Ponder appeared to have one of his better starts at Vikings training camp. Timing with his receivers, specifically Greg Jennings, was better than early practice days. Unfortunately for Ponder, as the practice went on, his throws started loosing accuracy. Ponder overshot a wide open Jerome Simpson during an 11-on-11 drill. Simpson had beat his man and the safety to get behind the defense, but the Ponder throw missed Jerome by a good five yards.
- Backup quarterback Matt Cassel had his fair share of struggles throughout the day too. During a series of 11-on-11, Cassel had back-to-back poor throws followed by a touch sack and a check down. You can just about put pen to paper as far as Vandenberg not making the Vikings roster this upcoming season. Vandenberg continuously threw behind his intended receivers during tight end drills and overthrew Stephen Burton by a good 10 yards during goal-line fades.
- It was a tough day for receive LaMark Borwn, who dropped two very catchable balls in 9-on-7 and 11-on-11. Brown wasn’t the only one having trouble holding on to the ball as receiver Jarius Wright bobbled a ball multiple times on a seam route, eventually clinging tight for the catch. Joe Webb also dropped a very catchable ball in one-on-one drills, but overall Webb looks liked he has been playing receiver for a while.
- Greg Jennings and Christian Ponder continue to work on their chemistry as Ponder is the only quarterback throwing to Jennings. Jennings, who is known for his route running, made Jacob Lacey and Josh Robinson look silly as he beat them on double moves. Patterson beat Chris Cook on-on-one only to be held up by Cook as the ball sailed over both of their heads. Patterson looked for a flag, but no flag was thrown, drawing a “Nooo Flag” comment from Chris Cook to the fan yelling for a yellow marker to be tossed. Patterson needs to work on his route running as he got blanked on a few plays, including completely stopping on a route assuming the play was dead.
- Adam Thielen had a good day at practice, but not without taking a shot from safety Andrew Sendejo. After Thielen made a catch across the middle, he turned to make a move, only to be blasted by Sendejo. Thielen got right back up and made a diving catch across the middle a few plays later.
- John Carlson and Kyle Rudolph could be a deadly combo in the two tight end set the Vikings were hoping to utilize last season. Carlson has looked very sharp in training camp, much improved from how he looked during the season. Chase Ford and Ellison aren’t the fleetest on foot and don’t have the best hands as both dropped catchable balls during tight end drills.
- Injuries: Mistral Raymond (hamstring), and Xavier Rhodes (hamstring) both sat out practice. A.J. Jefferson took over for Rhodes who limped around without pads. Chris Summers, who was expected to miss afternoon practice with a sore hamstring, was out running routes and making plays in full pads. Desmond Bishop had a stint of practicing/stretching on his own on field #2 – not sure if related to previous injury.
- Blair Walsh was 0-for-2 on the day in his two live action field goal attempts. Walsh stepped onto the field for his first attempt from approximately 45 yards out and missed wide right, only to step on to the field 15 minutes later to miss another 45-yard attempt. No reason for concern as Walsh was hitting just about every field goal during practice.
- Rookie punter Jeff Locke had some booming punts including a punt with close to five seconds of hangtime. Locke was drilling punts inside the 20 yardline with ease. He did have two punts that came off his foot funny resulting in poor punt attempts.
Offense Depth Chart (please note this is the unofficial depth chat)