Johnson's early struggles at tackle not unexpected

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 10, 2011 - 10:04 PM

MANKATO - Vikings offensive line coach Jeff Davidson warned against a rush to judgment on new starting left tackle Charlie Johnson.

"I believe this is his third practice," Davidson said Monday. "We always talk about it takes three or four practices just to knock the rust off. He's actually done better than that."

Johnson clearly has struggled against the outside speed rush in camp. Even he admitted his first practice a week ago was "ugly." Starting right end Jared Allen has beaten him consistently. On Wednesday, Allen's backup, Everson Griffen, blew past Johnson for a touch sack of Donovan McNabb during the two-minute drill session.

The first game test for Johnson is Saturday night at Tennessee. The good news is he won't face Jason Babin, who took his 12 1/2 sacks from last year and signed with Philadelphia. Jason Jones, a tackle last year, has been moved to right end. He is listed at 6-5 and 276 pounds, two inches taller and 15 pounds heavier than Babin.

Webb will follow McNabb

The pecking order for quarterbacks in Saturday night's game will be McNabb, Joe Webb, Christian Ponder and Rhett Bomar.

"Joe will get a chance to work with the 2s, but he and Christian are in a competition for that position," coach Leslie Frazier said. "When we play Seattle, it may be reversed. We're going to give them every opportunity to compete for that No. 2 spot and just see where it ends up."

McNabb and most of the starters on offense won't play long Saturday.

"We'll get them accustomed to the offense a little bit, a few plays and get them out and progress as the preseason goes on," Frazier said.

Meanwhile, Webb ran his second play at receiver. He ran a Hail Mary, but couldn't come down with the ball as cornerback Chris Cook swatted the pass away.

Raymond's chance at safety

Sixth-round draft pick Mistral Raymond will work with the first team at free safety for the second consecutive day Thursday. The rookie is filling in for Husain Abdullah, who attended President Obama's annual Iftar dinner celebrating Ramadan at the White House on Wednesday. Abdullah is scheduled to return Thursday night.

Meanwhile, Tyrell Johnson returned from missing two days of practice because of a hamstring injury. He worked with the second team at free safety.

"He did good from what I saw," Frazier said of Johnson. "He was sprinting. He was opening up. Another good day [Thursday] and he should be good to go for Saturday night."

Shiancoe won't play

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe missed his second consecutive day because of a hamstring injury and won't play Saturday night.

"I don't see any reason with the window that we have to put him out there," Frazier said. "We've got plenty of time to see Visanthe. We want to look at some of those other guys we need to evaluate."

Etc.

• Hall of Famer Alan Page watched practice Wednesday. The former Vikings defensive tackle is a fan of the lighter practices that were part of the new collective bargaining agreement. "I would pay dearly for a practice like this back then," he said.

• Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave will call plays from the sideline on Saturday night.

• The Vikings scheduled a workout for cornerbacks, including Tony Carter, who recently was released by the Patriots.

• Greg Camarillo is listed as the No. 1 punt returner on the Vikings' first depth chart, which was released Wednesday.

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