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.


Safeties hope extra work together pays off

Posted by: under Vikings, Brad Childress, Vikings players, Brad Childress, Madieu Williams, Tyrell Johnson Updated: July 9, 2010 - 1:11 PM

Vikings starting safeties Madieu Williams and Tyrell Johnson received their share of criticism for their performance in 2009. Both missed too many tackles and plays, and they combined for only one interception.

That opened the door for second-year safety Jamarca Sanford, who will push both for a starting job in training camp in a few weeks.

To their credit, Williams and Johnson have spent the offseason trying to improve their games individually and as a tandem. Both players took part in every OTA -- they were the only starters who participated in the on-field portion when one workout was opened to the media.

Vikings coach Brad Childress prefers to gear OTAs toward helping his younger players, but Johnson and Williams wanted the extra work. The duo also is participating in Larry Fitzgerald's camp this week at the University of Minnesota.

"We just want the work," Williams said. "We need the work. The more reps the better. The more you see something the better you're going to react, and then it becomes second nature. What we're trying to do is just get to the point where things become second nature and become ingrained and instinctive."

Johnson usually trains in Los Angeles before leaving for training camp but he decided to try something different with Fitzgerald's camp. He said his goal this summer is to improve his footwork.

"The focus was getting better moving your feet," he said. "Every year you want to get better at something, if not better at everything."

Both players said they're physically ready for training camp to start.

"We've been putting in some work and just learning about one another," Williams said. "The work ethic is going to pay off. It has to pay off and we believe it's going to pay off. We're just waiting for the season to come."

 

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