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.


Ponder clicks with tight ends in first training camp practice

Posted by: Chip Scoggins under Vikings, NFC, Adrian Peterson, Brian Robison, Jared Allen, Percy Harvin Updated: July 31, 2012 - 3:58 PM

Some observations from the Vikings first training camp practice ...

Good start for Ponder, TEs

Quarterback Christian Ponder had a good first training camp practice, completing 11 of 12 passes during the three 11-on-11 portions of Friday’s non-padded workout at Minnesota State Mankato. In coordinator Bill Musgrave’s tight end-friendly offense, it’s no surprise that Ponder was especially sharp connecting with the big fellas, especially Kyle Rudolph, who caught several passes, including a deep ball between the No. 1 safeties.

"Tight ends are a quarterback’s best friend," Ponder said. "So they’re going to catch a lot of balls this year. I’ve built up a lot of chemistry with Kyle. I think we just click. He finds ways to get open and I have a lot of confidence throwing to him."

Meanwhile, backup quarterback Joe Webb struggled with his accuracy during a shaky first day with the second unit.

 

Catch me if you can

The Vikings leaned on the 22-year-old legs of Jordan Todman quite a bit during Friday’s practice. That gave the second-year pro ample opportunities to display the speed and quickness he hopes will land the No. 3 running back job.

On one particular play, Todman broke free and decided to keep sprinting 80 yards as veteran cornerback Zack Bowman tried -- and failed -- to catch him. After running through the end zone, Todman quickly jogged back as Bowman used a reporter’s shoulder to lean on while trying to catch his breath.
"He’s fast," Bowman said of Todman. "He was fresh. I was fresh. Now, I’m not so fresh anymore."

 

Who is this guy?

Bryan Walters

The skinny: A 6-foot, 190-pound slot receiver who can also return punts, Walters has played only four NFL games since joining the Chargers as an undrafted free agent out of Cornell in 2010. The Vikings signed Walters as a street free agent in April in part because of the potential they saw in him when they played the Chargers in the first game of last season. In his best game as a pro, he had two catches for 21 yards and two first downs, and returned a punt 13 yards.

Did you know?: Walters ranks second on Cornell’s career all-purpose yardage list. No. 1 on that list is former Viking Ed Marinaro.

Chances of making the team: He’s a long shot, at best. The team has 12 receivers on the roster and will likely keep just five. Three receivers -- Percy Harvin, Jerome Simpson and Jarius Wright -- are locks. Michael Jenkins, At least three others -- Greg Childs and Devin Aromashodu -- would rank ahead of Walters at this point.

 

Quote of the Day

"There’s nothing friendly about it. I’ll win that any day of the week."

--Jared Allen, when asked if he has a "friendly" sack competition with fellow defensive end and close friend Brian Robison.

 

Injury update

--RB Adrian Peterson (knee) physically-unable-to-perform (PUP) list. TE Mickey Shuler (heel) non-football-injury (NFI) list. WR Stephen Burton (toe) NFI list. CB Josh Robinson (hamstring) pulled up lame while covering a receiver in Friday’s practice and did not return.

 

Schedule

Saturday: 10:30-11:30 a.m. walk-through. 2:45-5 p.m. practice (no pads). Sunday: Off. Monday: 10:30-11:30 a.m. walk-through. 2:45-5 p.m. practice (pads).

 

 

 

 

 

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