If you are heading out to Vikings training camp this summer or even planning on making the trip to Mankato to watch tonights practice in Blakeslee Stadium, here are some things to look our for:
Christian Ponder – He has had a nice training camp thus far, but nothing to boast about. His accuracy has been there, but a lot of his throws have been the short check downs that Tavaris Jackson was notorious for. Ponder threw so many check downs during a two minute drill, Tom Pelissero reported that Vikings quarterback coach Craig Johnson said it was the first time he had seen a quarterback go 7-10 in a two minute drill for only 25 yards. One area that Ponder has struggled thus far is getting enough juice on his deeper throws – especially over the middle (short hops or low, shoe-lace catches).
Reggie Jones – Call him a sleeper or just call him someone that worked hard during the offseason to get results. Just check out the picture and you will see the man means business. It has been widely reported, and rightfully so, that Jones can flat out play the cover corner like a veteran. He worked a lot with the ones and twos yesterday, but keep in mind that the Vikings have been rotating guys and trying different packages throughout training camp. Don’t count him out of the Vikigns roster – It will be more interesting to see him in live football action next this coming Friday against San Francisco. If a picture speaks a thousand words – Just look below (from Reggie Jones Twitter)
Jerome Simpson – His size and speed will help the Vikings during the 2012 season but many believe him to be the guy to “Free Percy”. He can come down with balls you didn’t think were possible to catch and there is no doubt Simpson is a #1 wideout talent. He also has a sense of humor as a fan during training camp kept screaming his name, he later walked over and gave the fan his empty gatorade bottle. With a three game suspension to be served at the beginning of the regular season, look for Simpson to “prove” himself during the preseason.
Wide Receivers – The Vikings have some serious depth at wide receiver this year and with Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson all but locks to make the team in 2012, the Vikigns will be looking for at least 3 if not 4 more receivers. Those spots will be filled with any combination of the following: Emmanuel Arceneaux, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton, Greg Childs, Michael Jenkins, Jorden Kamar, Kerry Taylor, Bryan Walters, and Jarius Wright.
Everson Griffen – Although he will still see time as a defensive end, Griffin has been taking reps as a rushing linebacker. It will be interesting to see how Griffin develops in his new position and fans should keep their eyes glued when he is on the field. There is no question that Everson is a special talent or both size and speed; its very rare to see a 6’3 270 defensive end playing gunner for special teams.