Mike Wobschall of Vikings.com is doing a fantastic job of keeping us updated on how OTAs are going. OTAs are not much of an indication for how the regular season will play out, but certain individuals can separate themselves from the competition in these OTAs and get a jump start on training camp battles.
It sounds like Chris Cook, Asher Allen, Tarvaris Jackson, Erin Henderson, and Greg Lewis did themselves some favors during today’s practice. Here is Wobschall’s report:
The Vikings just came off the outdoor practice fields at Winter Park after completing OTA #7. Weather conditions were ideal once again today – sunny skies and warm temperatures – and the coaching staff continues to enjoy a productive teaching environment as they get younger players up to speed and veterans back in the swing of things.
I had a moment to speak with both assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier and 2nd round draft pick Chris Cook after practice, so be sure to check back a bit later to read what they had to say about OTAs so far.
For now, though, I thought I’d share some of the highlights from Wednesday’s action at OTAs…
– Speaking of Cook, the 6-2, 212 CB had a great day on the field. During 1 on 1 drills with the WRs, Cook forced a fumble and then on his next turn he registered an INT. On his 3rd go-round, Cook tipped a pass and forced an incompletion.
– Impact plays on defense, such as Cook’s INTs and tipped passes, are emphasized by the Vikings defensive staff during practices. So far during OTAs, and especially the last 2 days, I’ve noticed a lot of tipped passes and forced fumbles. I’ll have more on this with coach Frazier later today, but it’s been good to see the Vikings defense active in attacking the ball and forcing turnovers. CB Asher Allen also had an INT in today’s workout.
– In group installation the offense was working on the 2-minute drill. Tarvaris Jackson looks the most comfortable of the Vikings QBs in this situation and did a nice job in leading the team down the field, both in the group install portion and also in the offense vs. defense portion. During the offense vs. defense portion, Jackson capped the 2-minute drill by hitting a WR in the back corner of the endzone. The WR caught and secured the ball over his head, tapped both feet in bounds and then fell out of bounds as time expired. Sound familiar? It was very similar to the play that won the San Francisco game last year in Week 3. The player on the receiving end of this particular last-second play? Greg Lewis.
– I watched several individual drills during the early part of practice on Wednesday, but the most interesting drill was run by WRs coach George Stewart. I know I’ve raved about Stewart on the blog before this, but he does a great job working with his players and this drill was no exception. The drill is designed to make the WRs react to certain types of coverage on the fly. The QB takes a snap and the WR goes into his route. After a few steps, Stewart yells either “man” or “zone” to indicate the type of coverage the WR is seeing. If it’s man coverage, the WR continues running his route. If it’s zone coverage, the WR makes one more burst and then sits down in an open spot in the zone.
– LB Erin Henderson got in on the INT party, picking off a pass from QB R.J. Archer during 7-on-7 drills; Henderson returned the pick for a score. But on the next play, Archer bounced back and hit WR Jaymar Johnson along the left sideline for what would’ve been a 1st down.
I’ll have more from Wednesday’s OTAs on the blog this afternoon, including some thoughts from both coach Frazier and Cook. So stay tuned…