"Best Of" Training Camp Photos, Part 1 >>
The 15th and final practice of 2013 Verizon Vikings Training Camp is in the books. The Vikings worked for roughly two hours under perfect conditions in Mankato, and they didn’t take their foot off the gas just because it was the final practice. The team was in pads and executed several competitive periods before the final whistle blew on Fan Appreciation Day.
Wednesday’s practice was a fitting end to camp because several of the players who had a solid three weeks were also standouts on the final day. Here are several examples…
-- Blair Walsh nailed a 64-yarder in the opening period of practice. He’s had a great camp, was perfect in the preseason opener and continued to look good this week as camp concluded.
-- Cordarrelle Patterson made the catch of the day during 7-on-7s. He ran a go route down the left sideline and ran underneath a deep, lofted pass from Matt Cassel. AJ Jefferson was stride for stride with Patterson on the play, but Patterson somehow managed to get his hands on the ball and not let go. He secured the catch, tight-roped the sideline and continued running toward the end zone. The catch generated a huge reaction from the crowd.
-- Not to be outdone, Jarius Wright made a similarly-impressive grab during 7-on-7s, running down the right sideline with Xavier Rhodes. As Christian Ponder’s pass came down, Wright wrapped his arms around Rhodes and caught the ball while holding against Rhodes’ body. As Wright was falling to the ground, he managed to get both hands around the ball and secured it all the way to the ground before falling out of bounds.
-- Jared Allen, whose expertise is sacks, can sometimes have a hard time standing out because there are of course no sacks allowed in camp. But he’s been a menace for much of camp and continued to be so on Wednesday. He and Matt Kalil have epic battles in live periods, but what makes Allen stand out at times is the pursuit he puts on plays. Even if he’s blocked well by Kalil at first, Allen keeps his feet and continues to pursue the play, which many times leads to touch sacks outside of the pocket.
-- Not to get too wide receiver heavy in our praise, but Greg Jennings and Joe Webb were also standouts on Wednesday. Jennings continues to catch everything thrown his way, and Webb has the knack for making acrobatic and difficult catches along the boundary and in the end zone.
-- Marcus Sherels closed Wednesday’s practice with an interception. The play happened in a goal line period and was the result of Sherels not giving up on the play and being in the right place at the right time. Sherels is one of the Vikings most instinctual defensive backs, and his interception on that play illustrates that point. Mistral Raymond also collected an interception earlier in practice on a pass from Cassel intended for Adam Thielen.
Wednesday’s practice was the last in Mankato this year, but training camp continues when the team returns to Winter Park following this Friday night’s preseason game in Buffalo. The Vikings will have Saturday off but will return to the Winter Park practice fields and resume their training camp schedule on Sunday afternoon.