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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Training camp Day 8 quick hits: Ponder, offense solid in scrimmage

Notes and observations from Day 8 of Vikings training camp

• The Minnesota Vikings held their annual scrimmage in front of an announced crowd of 12,000 fans at Blakeslee Stadium in Mankato, Minn. on Saturday night, just in time for the injury bug to hit.

Linebacker Desmond Bishop (groin), cornerback Xavier Rhodes (hamstring), safety Mistral Raymond (hamstring) all sat out. Cornerback Josh Robinson (hamstring) dressed and was limited.

Coach Leslie Frazier said the three players with hamstring injuries are not as much of a worry as Bishop’s groin.

“Can’t say I’m surprised it happened considering all the time [Bishop] missed a year ago,” Frazier said. “Just have to go day to day and hopefully get him back before the first preseason game. We really need to see him in some live situations considering all the time he’s missed. We also have to be smart if he’s not ready to go this week.”

Frazier said it’s too early to tell if any four of the players will miss the preseason opener on Aug. 9 against the Houston Texans.

“We’ll come back and evaluate it on Monday and see where they are,” Frazier said.

• After a week of being pushed around by the defense, the Vikings’ offense took advantage of the injuries and looked as crisp as they have in the first week of training camp.

“Much sharper, was encouraging to see. A lot of times in these settings, the defense is ahead of offense,” Frazier said. “But it was nice to see the offense level off a bit.”

• Quarterback Christian Ponder finished 11-on-11 drills completing 12-of-15 passes, with one touchdown to tight end John Carlson and an interception to cornerback Marcus Sherels after he misguided a pass to receiver Greg Jennings.

• In 7-on-7 passing drills, Ponder arched a near-perfect pass from 20 yards out into Simpson’s hands at the corner of the endzone, but it slipped right through Simpson’s arms.

• Carlson caught three touchdowns on the night, two from Ponder in 7-on-7 drills.

“[Carlson] did some good things in the redzone, good to see him make some tough catches,” Frazier said. “The fact he stayed healthy up to this point is a good thing.”

• The defensive line got after Ponder initially, crediting sacks to defensive ends Jared Allen and Everson Griffen early in the scrimmage. Ponder’s highlight came on a 50-yard bomb to receiver Jerome Simpson, who ran a go-route against second-team safeties Andrew Sendejo and Robert Blanton.

“That’s what we’re hoping we can get this season so people can loosen up their secondaries a little bit and not put safeties so close to the box,” Frazier said. “That’s an encouraging sign. If we can carry that over, we’ll be a much better offense, a much better football team.”

• Sherels saw extra work because of Robinson’s injury, getting his hands on two passes — the one he hauled in from Ponder.

• The scrimmage began and ended with the same chant: “M-V-P! M-V-P!” despite running back Adrian Peterson seeing very few carries in the evening practice. Backup running back Toby Gerhart saw the bulk of first-team carries.

• Rookie running back Bradley Randle got a rise out of the crowd as he sped down the sidelines for a touchdown early in team drills.

• Kicker Blair Walsh made 7-of-10 field goals, missing two from the right hash around 45 yards (one from a bad snap) and another from 33 yards. Walsh finished off with a successful 58-yard field goal.
by Andrew Krammer

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