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.


Tempers flare on final day of camp

Posted by: under Off the field, Vikings, Brad Childress, Leslie Frazier, Vikings players, Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Brad Childress, Brett Favre, Jared Allen, Leslie Frazier, Madieu Williams, Pat Williams, Percy Harvin, Phil Loadholt, Ray Edwards, Tarvaris Jackson, Tyrell Johnson Updated: August 12, 2010 - 12:23 PM

MANKATO -- The temperature was scorching on the field for the Vikings final full practice Thursday and the players tempers also were running hot.

The mood was testy and chippy throughout and it culminated with a skirmish between defensive end Ray Edwards and rookie running back Toby Gerhart.

The incident happened at the end of a 10-yard catch by Gerhart on a screen pass in a two-minute drill. As Gerhart was getting up, Edwards shoved him. Right tackle Phil Loadholt jumped in as a peacemaker as Gerhart and Edwards yelled at each other.

Running backs coach Eric Bieniemy, who was standing behind the play, ran downfield screaming at Edwards. More shoving between players took place.

Defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier jumped in to pull Edwards away and Edwards resisted, causing a heated exchange between those two. Frazier and Edwards tugged at each other for a few seconds before Jared Allen jumped in and pulled them apart.

Edwards was sent to the sideline. Everyone involved laughed off the incident after practice, saying it was a combination of the heat and end of camp tension.

"It happens," Edwards said. "It's hot out here. Some guys do things you shouldn't do in practice against other players. It happens but sometimes you have to let those guys know."

Edwards declined to say what Gerhart did specifically, but he didn't exactly apologize for shoving him.

"Just let him know don't do what he did," Edwards said. "Hopefully we don't have that thing again. Don't need to do that at practice, not against your own guys."

Gerhart said he chipped Edwards at the line before releasing into his pass pattern.

"I tried to give him a little chip and then went down the seam," Gerhart said. "He didn't like that chip I guess."

Gerhart has taken a pounding from the defense in camp and some guys have gone out of their way to deliver a blow on him even in non-contact work. Gerhart said he wasn't necessarily pushing back against Edwards.

"I didn't really throw back, I was just doing what I'm supposed to do," he said. "That's part of the play. It's football. It's the end of camp. Everybody is tightly strung and getting tired of each other."

Gerhart did say he was surprised by Edwards reaction.

"I didn't expect it at all, but that's the way it goes," he said. "Everybody had my back and they had their back. It's offense-defense. People are getting after each other."

Coach Brad Childress described it as a "teaching moment."
 
“I think Ray felt Coach Frazier and I appreciate Leslie jumping in there," Childress said. "That’s just what we do. It’s not like we are out fighting a fire or anything like that.”
 
Childress said he appreciated the fact that Gerhart stood up for himself and didn't back down after Edwards shoved him.
 
"It’s what makes these guys good," he said. "You’ve got to have a little edge to you, you’ve got to have a little stink about you. Toby’s choking it back and understands the rookie role and all that kind of stuff. But you’re only going to take it for so long. It’s like the old Popeye deal, ‘That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.’ The great thing is the eye in the sky doesn’t lie. We have it all on videotape.”

 In other highlights from the morning practice:

  • Wide receiver Jaymar Johnson was shaken up on a catch. Johnson watched the remainder of practice but said that was just a precaution.
  • Quarterback Tarvaris Jackson jogged off the field with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman during an early portion of the morning practice and was gone for about 15 minutes. "I just needed to cool down a little bit," said Jackson, who went in and got some fluids before returning to drills. "We were just being kind of cautious about it. I just felt my heart beating kind of fast. ... I don't know if it was dehydration or something. I don't really know what it was. It wasn't anything serious. We just were being cautious. It wasn't anything where I felt like I had to go in. It was just the trainers being cautious about the situation."
  • Childress said he had no update on Percy Harvin's absence or whether quarterback Brett Favre will be visiting Dr. James Andrews on Thursday to have his surgically repaired left ankle examined. Adrian Peterson said he has texted with Harvin but it has been just to show his support as a friend. Harvin has been at his Twin Cities home suffering from migraine headaches, according to the Vikings. 
  • Letroy Guion replaced Pat Williams at defensive tackle in the nickel package during a two-minute drill. Asher Allen was the nickel and Tyrell Johnson and Madieu Williams were the safeties.
  • Tyrell Johnson made his best play of camp when he intercepted Jackson's deep throw to Bernard Berrian down the sideline. Johnson had great position and came down with the ball while falling down.
  • Rookie quarterback Joe Webb has struggled all camp, but he had his best moment on a pass to Marquis Hamilton that he squeezed between Asher Allen and safety Eric Frampton.
  • Benny Sapp made a terrific play when he out-jumped Logan Payne in the end zone to intercept Webb's pass.
  • Sen. Al Franken made his first visit to camp and chatted with reporters for a few minutes. I'll post some of them later today.

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