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Vikings rookie offensive tackle Matt Kalil (right) battled Jared Allen during the second day of practice at Minnesota State University Mankato.

Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

Vikings training camp notes: Wednesday

  • August 1, 2012 - 10:19 PM

Staff writers Mark Craig and Dan Wiederer blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here is Mark's report from Wednesday:

Changing on the fly

Vikings defensive coordinator Alan Williams spent part of his Tuesday news conference explaining to the media how his defensive line rotation will resemble a "hockey lineup" with eight guys rotating through on a regular basis.

Apparently, he still hadn't explained it to his All-Pro right defensive end a day later.

"Nah, they're probably going to drop that on me toward the beginning of the season and I'll get really [mad] at them," Jared Allen joked after Wednesday's practice.

Allen came within half a sack of the NFL record when he had a league-high and franchise-record 22 a year ago. He's stuck now between not wanting to rock the Vikings ship and not wanting to come off the field.

"I'm willing to do anything to win, but I don't like coming off the field," Allen said. "I work so hard in the offseason to get in the best shape that I can. My theory has always been, 'You want to rest me, rest me during the week because I get paid to play on Sundays.' That's when I'm out there to make plays.

"I feel that if I'm on the field, I can make a play to help our team win. I understand you have to have a rotation and I'm going to do what they ask of me. There will be a diplomatic conversation if they ask me to roll back too much."

Allen has spent the past few offseasons training in mixed martial arts near his home in Arizona. That kind of training, he says, should allow him to stay on the field and still play at a high level, even at age 30.

"I work my butt off to make sure I can play 60, 70 snaps a game," Allen said. "There are times in a game, yeah, during a 12-play drive, when I don't need to tap my helmet, I'm looking to the sideline [to come out]. I know it's part of it. I'm not looking forward to it if that happens. But that's just because I'm a competitor and I think I can make every play that's out there."

Robinson returns but is limited

Vikings rookie Josh Robinson returned to practice Wednesday afternoon in a limited role. Robinson, who pulled his left hamstring in the first training camp practice last week, took part Wednesday in a few individual drills. But he didn't do anything with much contact involved.

"I'm just trying to slowly get back into it," the cornerback said. "Right now, it feels good. Not too bad. Can't complain. I'm not sure when I'll be full-go yet. Hopefully soon. The most frustrating thing has been having to watch just about everything. I try to stay positive and know all things happen for a reason."

Robinson hurt the hamstring while covering fellow rookie Jarius Wright on Friday. He's missed three full practices so far but has reminded himself that the regular season is still a long way off, allowing perspective to overpower his eagerness to get back into the fray.

"I definitely see the big picture," he said. "I have to remind myself to not push things too hard and then something might happen to put me out for a month or so. I'm definitely thinking about that and making sure I'm doing the right things to recover as soon as possible."

Chattering Sanford hanging on

Anyone who has watched rookie first-round draft pick Harrison Smith during camp figures it's only a matter of time before the instinctive, hard-hitting youngster moves from second-team saftey to the starting unit. He'll likely replace veteran Jamarca Sanford. But that won't necessarily mean the end of Sanford's days as a Viking.

Listening to coach Leslie Frazier speak on Wednesday, Sanford is too important to discard even if he loses his starting job.

Asked to rate the always-chattering Sanford's energy level, Frazier said, "Off the charts," before quickly adding, "He's one of the premier special teams players in the league. And part of that is the way he approaches practice and the energy he brings to the game. He is one of those guys who plays at a high level all the time. You can always hear him chirping and talking, and the players kind of feed off of that. We all like that energy that he brings.

"He is one of those guys that goes 100 miles per hour, so there is never time where he takes any time off. And if you are an opposing special teams player and you are trying to get your breath, look out because Jamarca will rock you now."

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