Friday, August 26, 2011

Expect More Playing Time For Kyle Rudolph

The Vikings second round draft pick Kyle Rudolf should expect more playing time earlier in the regular season than anticipated.  With Visanthe Shaincoe nursing a pulled hamstring  that has kept him out of the first two preseason games, the Vikings will be counting on Rudolph to pick up the offensive slack that is left void without Shaincoe on the field.  Shaincoe tweeked his hamstring early on in training camp and has since been scratched in the Vikings home opening pre-season game against the Cowboys.  The goal of keeping Shaincoe out of the first three preseason games, and probably the fourth and final preseason game, is that so Shaincoe is ready to suit up for the first regular season game. 

Most player’s young and old don’t bounce back quickly from hamstring problems and with Shaincoe being 31 years old it’s especially important that he doesn’t come back too soon.  If Shaincoe comes back too soon, or plays too much too soon, and pulls his hamstring again he could easily miss 3 to 4 games, or more.  So while Shaincoe will probably be good to go for the first regular season game, look for Rudolph to be getting more reps than earlier anticipated. 

Rudolf will do alright in his place.  Although Rudolf isn’t known as a great blocking Tight End, he does have speed, size and great hands.  These skills should keep opposing defensive linebackers honest in respect to their preference to zone in on Peterson and give McNabb a big target to throw at in Rudolph.  Rudolph has caught four passes earning him 32 yards thus far in his first two preseason NFL games.  

Monday, August 22, 2011

Ponder sees more, learns more - 08-22-2011

“The education of Christian Ponder continued Saturday night in Seattle.
Playing with the second-team offense, the rookie quarterback completed six of 12 passes for 63 yards during a stint that began in the second quarter and ended after the third.
"I think so," Ponder said when asked if things went a little more smoothly for him Saturday than in his preseason debut the previous week at Tennessee. "Got a chance to do two-minute stuff and got to [be] put in different situations, which is good. Got in with the twos, and I think they still had their one defense out there. So I thought it was OK. Could have made some more plays but played pretty well."
Ponder actually had better stats against the Titans, completing eight of 13 passes for 84 yards. But in that instance he replaced Joe Webb at quarterback and was with the third team going against a third-team defense.
"I think the biggest thing has been getting used to the speed of the game and on top of that learning this offense and building team chemistry," said Ponder, the 12th pick in the April draft. "I think the biggest adjustment is the windows aren't as open as they were in college, and you have to make the reads a lot faster and get the ball [out] a lot quicker than last year. It's an adjustment, and I'm part of that learning curve right now but it's been fun.””

Star Tribune - August 22

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bryant McKinnie was a waist of talent - 08-03-2011

"Bryant McKinnie ate himself off the team.
He showed up at training camp fat and out of shape and looked like Jabba the Hutt in a No. 74 jersey.
Apparently, playing on the Vikings' offensive line was less important to McKinnie than grazing at a buffet line.
So the Vikings cut him just one day after signing another left tackle, Charlie Johnson, who protected Peyton Manning's blind side the past couple of seasons.
If McKinnie had turned more of a blind eye to food and did some conditioning during the offseason, he likely would be a Viking. But based on his frequent Twitter posts chronicling his whereabouts, McKinnie was more inclined to go clubbing along Miami's South Beach and working on a music career.
McKinnie isn't a bad guy. Truth is, he comes off like a fun-loving kid. Trouble is, he liked fun and food more than playing football with the Vikings.
Of course, the Vikings didn't have to release him. They could have made him try working off the tonnage, and maybe that's what Brad Childress would have done. But it was a smart move by Leslie Frazier to unload the load. It sends a message to everyone on the team that Frazier expects players to be accountable for their actions and their weight, and he won't tolerate conditioning scofflaws. "

8-3-11 St. Paul Pioneer Press columnist Bob Sansevere