Training Camp: The Battles To Watch

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While we fully intend to take an in-depth look at the battle for every single roster spot during the Vikings training camp, here is a brief preview of each battle that could prove to be a little extra interesting.

1.  QUARTERBACK:  Supposedly Brett Favre is out of the picture, and Sage Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson will duke it out for the starting gig.  Assuming that nothing changes on the roster, of course, it is anyone’s guess as to who will win the starting job.  Rosenfels and Jackson each have their faults, but Jackson tends to shine in practice situations and may just be starting again this season.  John David Booty is a long shot to surpass either of these two guys.

2.  THIRD RUNNING BACK:  Running backs are always fun to watch.  This year we’ll get the treat of watching two fine young players fight for one spot.  Albert Young spent last season on the practice squad and Ian Johnson arrived as an undrafted free agent this year.  Both players are thought to be of high character and have the skills to make an impact. 

3.  FIFTH WIDE OUT:  Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin, and Bobby Wade are all virtual locks to make the roster.  They may push each other at times in order to establish a pecking order amongst themselves, but the true camp battle will be for the last remaining reciever position.  Aundrae Allison, Jaymar Johnson, Darrius Reynaud, Glenn Holt, Bobby Williams, and Nick Moore are all expected to see some time during camp.  Allison has the most experience of the group, but Jaymar Johnson has drawn some extremely high praise as of late.  The winner of the spot will probably depend on their ability to play on special teams.

4.  STARTING RIGHT TACKLE:  Ryan Cook was the starter when last season ended, but has not impressed fans with his tendency to false start and inconsistent pass blocking.  Enter Phil Loadholt, the beast of a tackle out of Oklahoma.  Cook will have to improve greatly in order to keep Loadholt from taking his job.

5.  BACKUP DEFENSIVE TACKLE(S):  Depth at defensive tackle has never felt as needed as it does right now, as Pat and Kevin Williams could still face a four game suspension to kick off the season.  This will provide a golden opportunity for backup tackles Fred Evans, LeTroy Guion, Jimmy Kennedy, Antoine Holmes, and Tremaine Johnson.  These five guys could all be on the roster when opening weekend roles around, especially if a court decision comes rather soon on the WilliamsWall case and roster exemptions are given to the Vikings during their absence.  Make no mistake, the Vikings hope that their future replacement for Pat Williams is in this bunch and will be watching very closely.  Defensive End Brian Robison is also expected to be in rotation for defensive tackle.

6.  NICKLE & DIME:  Perhaps the most interesting camp battle besides quarterback will be to see who will secure the Vikings nickle back position.  With Antoine Winfield and Cedric Griffin as near-locks for the starting gigs, that leaves rookie Asher Allen to compete with Karl Paymah, Benny Sapp, Marcus McCauley, and Marcus Walker for the two (possibly three, we’ll see) remaining roster spots.  With Charles Gordon being unable to take the field and the Viking shaving to waive him, Asher Allen is going to be a hopeful amongst fans.

There you have it, a few things to keep an eye on.  We will make sure to update you regularly with reports from camp.

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