Vikings Day at Camp: Not a good Saturday for the offense

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 11:55 PM


Practice snapshot

Saturday was not a good day for the Vikings’ quarterbacks. It was not a good day for the Vikings’ receivers. Oh, heck, it wasn’t a good day for the offense as a whole.

There were interceptions, including one that Christian Ponder threw to linebacker Erin Henderson right over the middle on the second play of an 11-on-11 segment of practice.

There were some high throws, some late throws and a wild throw by Ponder over the head of 6-5 free agent rookie receiver Rodney Smith on what’s usually a simple out-route throw in which Smith wasn’t even covered.

And when there were good throws, receivers had trouble finding the handle. Smith had the worst drop of the day when he beat the defense deep but let backup quarterback Matt Cassel’s perfectly-thrown ball slip right through his hands.

Griffen looking explosive

Now that the gloom and doom is out of the way, we’ll make note that defensive end/tackle/do-everything athlete Everson Griffen looked especially explosive at the snap of the ball. He is playing tackle in the nickel and, as usual, getting reps at both end positions. He gave right tackle Phil Loadholt some fits during the 11-on-11 portion of practice. No one on Saturday was quicker at the snap of the ball than Griffen.



For much of the 2011 and 2012 seasons, the Vikings had two very different offenses: one for Ponder and one for backup Joe Webb, a guy who had a completely different skill set. That’s changed this year with Cassel at No. 2 QB and Webb now at receiver. “We’re going to employ a lot of the same concepts that we do with Christian when Matt is in there,” offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave said. “That helps our team. The other 10 guys are having time on task with those concepts, so we don’t want to have two distinctly different guys. Matt fits that mold. He can step in and we won’t miss a beat.”



“Give him a plane ticket!”


— A disgruntled fan who wasn’t thrilled when Smith dropped that deep ball from Cassel



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