Blog Post

Vikings Camp Day 2 POSITION BATTLES

First day of full team practices took place today, there was a walkthrough in the morning and a practice with helmets and position groups in the afternoon. I quickly learned my first mistake of the year, I need to stop at the HyVee by my hotel to purchase some sunscreen because it was hot and very sunny today. frankly it’s a rookie move for someone that has already been through this experience once before so I’m a little disappointed in myself.

THE POSITION BATTLES

After one day off practice there isn’t much clarity on any position battles or who might be playing where so everything is basically just speculation at this point…but let’s do it anyways!

At the OLB position Emmanuel Lemur was getting a high majority the first team snaps when the team was not in nickel as he looks to be the early favorite to replace Chad Greenway. When the team did go to Nickle we did see an interesting twist in which Anthony Barr shifted down onto the line at the defensive end position for a few snaps in the morning practice.

Safety is a position where people talk about trying to add a new piece each season but every year Andrew Sendejo holds onto his job and early on there are no signs of him losing it as he was placed next to Harrison Smith all day.

Cornerback saw Trae Waynes get a few more snaps as the first team corner than I expected right away. Waynes did have one play that stood out in the one-on-one drill when knocked down a pass from Sam Bradford on a deep ball intended for Stefon Diggs. Mackensie Alexander saw some time in the slot and picked up an interception on Day 1. Terence Newman saw time at both positions early on but that is a battle that might take the whole camp to figure out. If you’re someone that thinks Newman could be better fit at safety Mike Zimmer sort of shot down that notion today when he said “Terrence is a corner that’s where he’s gonna play”

On the offensive line the first five Were Riley Reiff, Mike Remmers, Alex Boone (who looked angrier than usual), Joe Berger and Nick Easton. Third round pick Pat Elflein was with the second unit but he might not be far behind. The Ohio State product looked comfortable at the line and the transition to the NFL is something he is getting used to. In his words “the (NFL) playbook at center is a little more complicated but I’m getting it down and think I’m adjusting well and it’s just a matter of going out and competing”.

At Running back Jerrick McKinnion probably got 60% of the first team snaps but Dalvin Cook had many an opportunity as well and looked good cutting back a few nice runs when the offense and defense matched up together. One thing you can definitely expect more of this season based off the first day of practice is a lot more offensive lineman pulling on running plays to the outside no matter who is at RB.

You can’t talk about position battles without touching on the kicker battle. Kickers and Punters were on the far field so they weren’t front and center but I did sneak over there for a few moments and saw both incumbent Kai Forbath and Marshal Koehn take a few shots from 35-40 yards between narrow uprights (about a third of the size of regular uprights) Forbath went 1-4 with one hitting the right upright and Koehn went 3-4 and his makes would have been good for about another 20 yards. Koehn definitely has the distance that Forbath doesn’t but accuracy was his issue so it was a good few rounds for the rookie out of Iowa but I would still say Forbath is the favorite in this battle after going 16-of-16 last season after replacing Blair Walsh.

A few quick notes:

Riley Reiff did leave the practice at some point. Just looked up and he wasn’t on the field anymore some other reporters said something happened to him but obviously nothing major. Hopefully will hear an update on this tomorrow. Also, Adam Thielen came up limping after a contested play near the sidelines when a few players collided, did not see him return to practice after that but didn’t look too serious.

That’s the day 2 blog from Mankato one more full day left and plenty of aloe vera and sunscreen for me.

 

*stay tuned for more updates and live reports on AM 1100 The Flag and you can read all my blogs from training camp on am1100theflag.com or find them on Twitter @ARieckWZFG

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