On an unusually cool and blustery day at training camp, quarterbacks and receivers had an extra challenge to overcome in synching up their timing. But one of the highlights of Friday’s practice came when receiver Joe Webb hauled in a deep ball from Matt Cassel between solid coverage from Xavier Rhodes and Robert Blanton.
“A couple more of those and I’ll be good,” Webb said.
Webb continues to impress with his athleticism and hands as he continues his conversion from quarterback.
“He can catch the ball,” veteran Greg Jennings said. “And that’s the first hurdle. If you can’t catch, you can’t be taught.”
Webb admitted he still has plenty of work to do in refining his route running, learning to be smoother in and out of breaks while also correcting the motions that tip his routes.
But his understanding of the position seems to be growing.
“He’ll notice the little things without someone telling him,” Jennings said. “Which lets me know he’s willing to work to improve, to really home in on the skills that it takes to perform at a high level at this position.”
All Day some days
Adrian Peterson’s MVP surge in 2012 was preceded by a preseason in which he didn’t see game action as he worked back from a torn ACL in his left knee. The Vikings have certainly taken note that their star running back doesn’t need even a moderate preseason workload to be at his best when the games count.
Leslie Frazier said Friday that Peterson would see some preseason game action next month but likely not much.
“It’s not like we are not sure how he’s going to respond,” Frazier said.
Peterson is fine with that approach. And even though he didn’t join the team in training camp practices last year until Aug. 12, he said he has not forgotten what he was able to accomplish in his off-to-the-side rehabilitation workouts.
“It’s all about hard work,” Peterson said. “Whatever you do, you have the options to go through the motions, barely go through it or you can really put the work in and feel like you accomplished something. So that was my mindset. Just whatever I was doing as far as a workout, making sure that I felt like I won — that nobody outworked me that day.”
Desmond Bishop lined up at weak-side linebacker and ran with the second unit during Friday’s practice. The Vikings are well aware they’ll have to ease Bishop in as he blends into an unfamiliar environment.
“He’s going to have to get acclimated to the way we do things, his new teammates, this environment, a new system and just finding his way,” Frazier said. “There are a lot of challenges for him with the fact that he missed an entire offseason. And then you combine that with the fact that he didn’t play at all [in 2012], still recovering from an injury [torn hamstring]? He’s still gaining his confidence physically.”
A nice ring to it
The Vikings became a playoff team last season with the push of a four-game winning streak to close the regular season, a surge that certainly validated the team’s grit and unity.
But defensive end Jared Allen wants to make certain this team doesn’t overvalue that streak or the playoff berth it produced.
Said Allen: “I think it’s something to build on. But yea and nay. The last game we played, I think we got embarrassed in Green Bay [in the playoffs]. So that was a gut check for motivation and what we’ve [still] got to get to. And to let guys know that the ultimate goal isn’t making it to the playoffs. A lot of teams make it. A lot of players make the playoffs throughout their career. But we ultimately get judged on how many rings we have, right?
“There are a lot of guys who play a whole career and don’t get one. I don’t want to be one of those guys.”