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Bleacher Report – Vikings


Photo: Aj Mansour (KFAN)

By: Aj Mansour |

Mankato, MN – Day six of Minnesota Vikings Training Camp is in the books. The first hot day of this year’s camp, Thursday brought out the big hits once again as players were allowed and encouraged in some instances to take tackles to the ground.

Here are some of the highlights from today’s afternoon session.

Demarcus Love suspended four games for violating league’s PED policy
News finally broke on Thursday of a positive test that dates back to April of this year tying Vikings third-year offensive tackle Demarcus Love to performance enhancing drugs. It was announced today that Love, who has already lost an appeal on the ruling, will be suspended for the Vikings first four regular season games of the 2013 schedule.

“I was shocked, man,” Love said about learning of his positive test. “I’ve never cheated and never will. Not intentionally. Unfortunate it’s something I can’t change. It happened. It didn’t work out in my favor and so I’ve got to face the consequences.”

Erin Henderson suffers strained groin
As they often will when the pads are on, 7-on-7 drills got a little rough today. Both Jerome Simpson and Erin Henderson walked off the field (under their own power) with head trainer Eric Sugarman for further evaluation in the trainer’s tent. While it sounds like Simpson walked away unscathed, we may have to wait until tomorrow to learn the extent of Henderson’s injury to his groin.

Henderson did return to the field for limited repetitions after being wrapped up by Sugarman but the injury was still bothersome enough that they will take another look at it this evening. It should be noted that in Henderson’s absence, Audie Cole filled in at middle linebacker and Frazier said that for now, he’s the backup middle linebacker.

Offense bounces back in goal line formation
Earlier this week there was a big stink made about how poorly the offense had performed in the goal line drills. Today, Christian Ponder, Matt Cassel and both the first and second team offenses flipped the script on the defense and ran up the imaginary score board by the endzone.

In a slew of bootleg passes and power runs, both the first and second string offenses scored at will on the Vikings defense today. John Carlson made an appearance in the back of the endzone, Toby Gerhart bulldozed his way across the goal line and Christian Ponder even scampered his way past the pylons for a score. It’s was a good sign for an offense that had been struggling the past few days.

Greg Jennings offers up an apology to Aaron Rodgers
Last week Greg Jennings grabbed headlines by commenting on how large Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ ego was. Thursday afternoon Jennings, who was promptly told to cut it out by Coach Frazier, offered up an apology to Rodgers…sort of?

“I don’t really recall saying anything negative about Aaron, or anyone over there,” Jennings told the media after Thursday’s practice. “But hey, I apologize.”

Blair Walsh cracking under pressure?
The life of a special teamer is often times a lonely one. While all of your offensive and defensive buddies are working on fields one and two, you regularly find yourself alone working with Coach Priefer on field three. But as coach Priefer told us earlier this morning, those repetitions you get on field three are priceless when it comes to crunch time in the games.

Thursday afternoon, second-year kicker Blair Walsh took those reps and wowed the crowd going 5-for-5 with no defensive rush including three balls that nearly knocked the video guys out of their cherry picker high above the ground. However, when the defense was added to the picture, Walsh became a little shaky pushing two of his seven kicks wide right. Probably not a ton to be concerned about, but a sub-par performance for a kicker we learned to trust last season.

Seth Olsen is going “to get his %&$ beat” as skirmish adds some life to practice
Sometimes the idea of taking a tackle to the ground can be misinterpreted a bit. For instance, when Xavier Rhodes intercepts a Matt Cassel pass, runs it back fifteen yards and stops, you probably aren’t encouraged to pick him up and throw him to the ground. That was how backup guard Seth Olsen must have interpreted the coach’s directions.

This little scenario resulted in the first skirmish of Vikings training camp and led to a “benches clearing” yelling fest at mid-field as Jared Allen, Jamarca Sanford and the rest of the defense were sticking up for their defenseless rookie CB and the entirety of the offense was defending Olsen’s interpretation of the tackle to the ground directive. Regardless of who was in the right, the skirmish ended without any punches being thrown or feelings being hurt. That said, it did add a little life to a practice where the sun was sucking the excitement out of everything.

Aj Mansour covers Minnesota Sports for Feel free to leave comments and questions regarding this post in the space provided below. For Vikings updates and breaking Vikings news, follow Aj on Twitter. @AjKFAN

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