MANKATO – Fans aren’t the only ones who would like a quick, definitive resolution to the Vikings’ three-man quarterback competition. A certain former NFL MVP also would prefer not to repeat last year’s three-headed fiasco.
“I feel like it’s going to be very important for us,” running back Adrian Peterson said Thursday as players reported to Minnesota State Mankato for the start of training camp. “It’s not a secret. The quarterback position really hasn’t played well.”
Peterson went on to express confidence in veterans Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder because of their efforts to improve in a new system this offseason and rookie Teddy Bridgewater, a first-round draft pick who was meticulously researched by the Vikings before the draft.
“I feel like we have three good quarterbacks right now,” Peterson said. “Basing everything off OTAs and the minicamps, of course Matt Cassel is our guy, with Christian Ponder and Bridgewater right there. I have confidence in our organization from the top to the bottom, the head coach.”
Zimmer: Cassel ‘No. 1’
Coach Mike Zimmer said the first-team reps will not be split evenly between the three quarterbacks when practice begins on Friday.
“In my mind, I have Cassel as the No. 1 quarterback going into camp, but I don’t have a starter in mind yet,” Zimmer said. “They’re going to determine who the starter is on the practice field; [it’s] about how they go about their business, how they perform in the preseason games.”
Asked essentially if he’d have the courage to start a rookie quarterback should Bridgewater win the job, Zimmer said, “The Minnesota Vikings, [General Manager] Rick [Spielman] and myself, we’re really not afraid to do anything.
“If we do make a mistake, pick the wrong guy or the left corner is the wrong guy to play, then we’ll try to fix it at that time. That’s part of adjusting.”
Ford out, Kalil in
The battle for the No. 2 pass-catching tight end position lost a competitor for the duration of training camp when Chase Ford showed up with a walking boot on his left foot. He had surgery July 16 to repair a stress fracture and likely will be placed on the physically unable to perform list.
Meanwhile, there’s a sense of relief that left tackle Matt Kalil was recently cleared after missing most of the offseason workouts because of knee surgery.
“I’m feeling 100 percent,” Kalil said. “These last few weeks of workouts, I’ve been going full speed. No pain, feels super strong.”
Zimmer also said he expects new nose tackle Linval Joseph to be full-go after being sidelined most of the offseason because of shoulder surgery.
Peterson’s first ring
The Super Bowl ring might be on hold, but Peterson did flash the wedding ring he’s been wearing since he married longtime girlfriend Ashley Brown on Saturday. The couple was engaged on July 4.
“Yeah, I’m official,” Peterson said. “I’m a married man.”
Most of his teammates and coaches didn’t know about Peterson’s marriage until reports began to surface this week.
“And family members [didn’t know], too,” Peterson said. “I only had like 20 people there. Some of my brothers didn’t make it. … I’m sure I’ll hear something from the guys.”
New sheriff in town
For the first time since 2006, the Vikings opened camp with a player conditioning test Thursday afternoon. The test, which wasn’t open to reporters, wasn’t something the ultra-conditioned Peterson seemed concerned about.
“This is my first conditioning test,” he said. “I’m not nervous about it. I’d rather not do it, to be honest. But it is what it is. I’m sure it will be short and sweet. The type of workout that I do during my offseason, I don’t think their conditioning test can faze me too much.”