Vikings notes: Musgrave shows intense side

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER and KENT YOUNGBLOOD
  • Updated: August 7, 2012 - 9:28 PM
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Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave

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Staff writers Dan Wiederer and Kent Youngblood blog at Access Vikings on startribune.com. Here is their report from Tuesday:

Musgrave shows his intense side

MANKATO - On Tuesday afternoon, those watching the Vikings practice saw just how effective a motivator Bill Musgrave can be.

Yes, Musgrave. The Vikings offensive coordinator is known as a rather soft-spoken, even-keel kind of guy. But after his offense sputtered during an off-kilter practice Monday, Musgrave became animated and showed a bit of creativity in his attempt to motivate.

Players weren't letting on about just what Musgrave did during meetings Monday night. But, apparently, it worked.

"He had a great metaphor of lighting a fire," quarterback Christian Ponder said. "He finds some unique ways of motivating us. But it works. I'm not going to go into details. It might get some people in trouble."

Asked a few moments later if there were props involved in Musgrave's pep rally, Ponder laughed.

"Yep," he said. "Let's just say it involved a bucket of water, some leaves and some sticks. It was interesting."

During a much crisper practice Tuesday -- "I thought it was the best we've performed since I've been here," Ponder said -- the offense executed well, especially during two-minute drills when Ponder and Joe Webb each led touchdown marches.

"[Monday] was tough," Ponder said. "People respond to off days in different ways, and obviously we didn't respond the right way. It was important for us to step out and have a good practice today. We made a point of it [Monday night], to have more enthusiasm. And we did."

Coach Leslie Frazier also expressed his pleasure in seeing the offense rebound.

"We were more efficient and our tempo was better," he said. "Yesterday it kind of lagged a bit, and we can't afford for that to happen."

Finally, a game

Both Musgrave and defensive coordinator Alan Williams said a decision on how much time their starters will play against San Francisco in the exhibition opener Friday night has not been made. Both will take their lead from Frazier. But Musgrave said he wanted to take his starters as deep as he can in the first quarter while still trying to get sufficient tape on everybody.

Williams, meanwhile, said being new to the team wouldn't alter his approach to playing his starters. It remains to be seen how much veterans Antoine Winfield, Kevin Williams and Jared Allen would play. It would be a surprise if any of them played much.

One thing is clear: The Vikings still are in camp mode, in the sense that they are not game-planning for the 49ers at all. And, given the fact that the two teams meet again in Week 3 of the regular season, you can bet the schemes will be vanilla.

"That's definitely a factor when you talk about what you're going to show, what we want to work on and what we could care less about,'' Musgrave said.

Defensive standouts

Williams went out of his way Tuesday to compliment Chris Cook and Kevin Williams. Cook has been around the ball a lot during camp and seems to be playing with added physicality.

"I'm seeing a complete football player, which is what you want to have," Alan Williams said.

Williams also said that, when he analyzed his defensive personnel after being hired, Kevin Williams definitely showed he was playing better at the end of last season, carrying that surge over into camp.

"He's playing at a high level," Alan Williams said.

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