Retired quarterback Rich Gannon left the Winter Park practice field Friday with a handful of notes and a generally positive review of the Vikings' situation behind center. At the invitation of coach Brad Childress, Gannon observed a 90-minute practice and will continue working informally with all of the team's quarterbacks next week.
"It's all about reps with young quarterbacks," Gannon said. "And that's what I saw him getting today. Not only that, but being put in different situations. All of the quarterbacks, I think they did a nice job today of adjusting to those situations."
Gannon and Childress struck up a friendship during Pro Bowl festivities in the late 1990's. Gannon, who retired to the Twin Cities in 2005, gave a talk to Vikings quarterbacks last year and agreed to serve as a resource again this year.
"He's got a great thing that he goes through in terms of snap-to-snap preparation," Childress said. "He's welcome any time he wants to come out here. ... I value his opinion. I got a chance to know him at the Pro Bowl and obviously he has taken one or two snaps in this league. It hasn't changed that much since he played."
The Vikings might be tempted to run Gannon through a brain washer later this summer, however. In addition to his role as a CBS analyst, Gannon also will work on preseason broadcasts ... for the Green Bay Packers.
Players, coaches, and front- office employees constructed a new playground Friday at the American Indian/World Cultures magnet school in St. Paul. The event was sponsored by the Vikings and Toro.
"It's a very diverse school," Childress said. "The kids here, you spend time walking around and seeing different grades, they enjoy this. They'll use it. They'll fill up this whole park when they do come out and recreate. It's about giving back, [for] everybody in our organization."
The playground was based on drawings submitted by the school's students.
Defensive end Ray Edwards got into a tussle during Friday's workout with left guard Steve Hutchinson and center Matt Birk. Childress helped separate the combatants, but he nearly took a tumble himself when Edwards lunged one last time at Hutchinson.
"A lesser athlete would have got knocked off his feet," Childress said with a laugh.
Childress on the state of the team with six Offseason Training Activities remaining: "[I see] a lot of progress, a lot of great effort," Childress said. "Just kind of setting the table as we go to camp. You've got a lot of willing participants there. It is the offseason, but the participation is excellent. You couldn't ask for much more so far."
Three players sat out Friday's practice for injury reasons: linebacker Dontarrious Thomas (bruised ribs), right tackle Ryan Cook (undisclosed), defensive end Kenechi Udeze (illness).
The Vikings have had contract discussions with defensive tackle Pat Williams but no deal appears imminent. Childress said he remains hopeful a deal can be reached.
"Pat knows how I feel about him," Childress said.
Williams, who has rested his sore knee this week, returned to practice Friday.