Vikings notes: Thursday

  • Updated: August 2, 2012 - 11:17 PM
hide

Jamarca Sanford might not hang onto his starting safety position, but the Vikings still value him highly on special teams.

Photo: Jerry Holt, Star Tribune

CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

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

Sanford's special-teams value noted

Jamarca Sanford's days as a starting safety may be numbered. Ideally, the Vikings hope to slide Sanford back into a reserve role. And the ascension of rookie Harrison Smith will likely trigger that move before the preseason is finished. But don't underestimate Sanford's big-picture value as a special teams contributor.

Special teams coach Mike Priefer spoke up Thursday to deliver his endorsement, commending Sanford's speed, toughness and ability to use his hands well. Sanford's hyperactive nature? Also a plus.

"He's almost as crazy as I am," Priefer said. "I think you have to have a couple screws loose when you play special teams. ... He's got great heart. He's got great want-to. I wish I had 10 of him."

Priefer's praise came a day after head coach Leslie Frazier delivered an assessment of Sanford's skills. Frazier hinted that Sanford's grip on a starting safety spot may be tenuous, noting that the fourth-year veteran hasn't consistently made enough plays on balls down the field. But Frazier also said Sanford's energy level is "off the charts" and highlighted his special teams value.

"He's one of those guys who goes 100 miles per hour," Frazier said. "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."

Youth being served

The Vikings defensive line, with All-Pro Jared Allen, standout defensive tackle Kevin Williams and end Brian Robison, is likely the most established unit on the team. Yet the long-term welfare of the line may hinge on the development of its younger players.

Topping that list: tackles Letroy Guion and Christian Ballard and defensive end D'Aundre Reed.

New line coach Brendan Daly has been impressed with all three players so far in camp.

Guion, playing exclusively at nose tackle now, has seemed more confident. And Daly was thrilled he came to camp in such great shape.

"He's lighter than what he's been the past couple of years," Daly said. "I think his body feels better. And I think he's seen himself moving and playing a little bit better because of that."

Daly likes Ballard's athleticism and his knack for rushing the passer but believes the second-year tackle "has a ways to go" in improving his technique against the run.

As for Reed? Versatility is his calling card.

"He's a guy who gives us tremendous flexibility. He can flip both sides, play left end and right end without much issue," Daly said. "And he's done some pass rush stuff inside where he can use his athleticism to create some nice mismatches."

Help wanted

Competition for the Vikings' punt returner job remains open. So while Marcus Sherels is the incumbent and will be the No. 1 return man heading into next week's preseason game in San Francisco, the Vikings will also give rookies Jarius Wright and Josh Robinson a look, with Bryan Walters in the mix as well.

Given that Sherels and Walters face an uphill battle to make the roster and Robinson has missed most of training camp practice so far because of a pulled hamstring, Wright may have an inside track.

Wright didn't return punts last season at Arkansas. For his college career, he averaged 5.9 yards on eight returns.

Did you see that?

Rookie Greg Childs delivered the highlight reel play of the day in the final team session of Thursday's practice. Childs' 26-yard touchdown catch from Joe Webb came on a grab during which cornerback Brandon Burton had near-perfect coverage. Yet with the two face-to-face in the end zone, Childs leaped, reached both arms around Burton and managed to pin the ball on the cornerback's back long enough to haul it in.

Said Wright, a friend of Childs' since childhood: "I've seen that since our school days. Greg making catches like that? There's nothing new for me to see."

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Miami - LP: M. Dunn 1 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: D. Carpenter 3
Arizona - WP: T. Cahill 7 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - LP: P. Strop 5
San Francisco - WP: J. Machi 12 FINAL
Colorado - LP: C. Bettis 10
Texas - WP: M. Perez 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: S. Gray 0
Houston - LP: J. Fields 3 FINAL
Seattle - WP: F. Rodney 5
Cincinnati - WP: A. Simon 5 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: C. Morton 2
LA Angels - LP: E. Frieri 4 FINAL
Washington - WP: D. Storen 5
Kansas City - LP: K. Herrera 3 FINAL
Cleveland - WP: B. Shaw 5
Baltimore - WP: C. Tillman 10 FINAL
Toronto - LP: T. Redmond 8
Chicago WSox - WP: A. Rienzo 6 FINAL
Detroit - LP: E. Reed 4
St. Louis - LP: M. Wacha 2 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: J. Niese 3
Minnesota - WP: C. Fien 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay - LP: J. Lueke 4
NY Yankees - LP: M. Pineda 1 FINAL
Boston - WP: J. Lackey 5
San Diego - LP: T. Ross 2 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: K. Lohse 5
Philadelphia - LP: C. Hamels 2 FINAL
Los Angeles - WP: Z. Greinke 5
Charlotte 97 FINAL
Miami 101
Dallas 113 FINAL
San Antonio 92
Portland 112 FINAL
Houston 105
Pittsburgh 3 FINAL(OT)
Columbus 4
Anaheim 2 FINAL
Dallas 4
St. Louis 3 FINAL(OT)
Chicago 4
Houston 0 FINAL
Red Bull New York 4
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many regular season games will Vikings win?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close