Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


No plans to play Floyd, Kevin Williams side by side

Posted by: Mark Craig under NFC Updated: July 30, 2013 - 1:12 PM

MANKATO -- Defensive coordinator Alan Williams met with reporters for the first time this training camp. Here's some of the Alan's highlights and at least one media lowlight:

Q: Is this the best defensive line you've had in your time here?

A: "Well, I've only had one year. ... So I'd say yes."

Q: If Sharrif Floyd and Kevin Williams are your two best tackles, would you play them together? (Floyd, a rookie first-round pick, is the backup at the three-technique tackle position behind Williams, an 11-year veteran)

A: "I don't think so. That's not a definite, but the one thing that we do do is we rotate [defensive linemen] so much that you do need two three-techniques and you need two noses [nose tackles]. We'll see how that shakes out, but the one thing about those two spots is they're different spots. Just because you are a great three-technique doesn't mean you're going to come in and play nose and be as effective. So I don't think so, but I'm not going to rule anything out."

Q: How tough is it to get the veteran defensive linemen to accept a rotation that cuts their snaps?

A: "Great question, but that's the same question we had from last year. Guys know they're going to rotate. They know at some point they're going to have to come out of the ballgame. And that's going to be the best thing for the team, but not necessarily the best thing for their number of reps. But we want to make sure that we keep them fresh, that we keep them going for three reasons. One is at the end of the ballgame, when we need to shut it out, so guys are fresh and can get themselves going. No. 2 would be at the end of the year when we have to make that playoff push, that guys are healthy and don't have too many reps on their body so they're fresh. And No. 3 is that if someone would happen to get injured then the other guy would have enough reps under his belt that he can come in there and play winning football. So having that rotation helps the entire team out. And they're good with it, even though they may tell you, `Hey, I want to play every down.' They know what's best for us as a whole."

Q: What is the biggest thing that Josh Robinson still needs to learn about playing the slot corner position? (Robinson has never played the position and is trying to replace Antoine Winfield, one of the league's best slot corners)

A: "He just needs the reps. He needs to see the different plays that he's going to get in practice. I don't think people realize how tough that position is. That's a position that you have to fit lit a safety or a linebacker in the box and you have to cover like a corner when you're on a receiver. That's a position unlike other ones where you can just get by by being talented. You have to have good instincts, you have to be talented and you have to see the reps. We're very, very encouraged with him playing in that spot."

Q: What kind of progress is safety Jamarca Sanford making as a leader?

A: "He's always been a leader. You guys who have interviewed him, he likes to talk. One thing about Jamara though is he backs it up on the football field. I think that's an important part. Guys can talk, but Jamarca is one that when he gets on the field he goes a million miles an hour. He plays hard. He plays smart. And one thing now is he probably has better judgment in the passing game than he has in the past. He's always been a fireplug in stopping the run. But he has elevated his game in the passing game. He's becoming a complete football player and one of the better safeties in the league. We like what he brings. He's another one of those guys who exemplifies everything that we talk about in terms of Minnesota Vikings football.

 

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
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2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
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