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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Training camp Day 14 quick hits: Turnovers are a continued emphasis

•Minnesota Vikings safety Jamarca Sanford snuck up behind running back Adrian Peterson and attempted to poke the ball out of his hands during Tuesday’s team drills.

Peterson was already 20 yards downfield and the play was over, but Sanford’s effort is a microcosm of the Vikings’ defensive plan for 2013 — force turnovers and create points.

“With Chicago and what they continue to put on tape with their defense, they’re the team everyone looks to because they turn defensive turnovers into scores,” Linebacker Chad Greenway said. “You don’t want to become somebody else, but we want to be punching, stripping, and turning the ball over, tipping balls and taking them back. We did more of that last year than we did the year before, turned into good decisions for us. I think we’re going to do more of the same this year, the emphasis is much, much there. I think you guys can see that.”

•Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder had one of his better outings of training camp on Tuesday, tossing darts around the practice field as his few incompletions were mostly results of dropped passes.

Ponder’s highlight was a 30-yard completion, into the wind, to tight end John Carlson in stride as he came down with the pass in between linebacker Chad Greenway and cornerback Xavier Rhodes during 7-on-7 passing drills.

•The Vikings defensive line was the only detriment to Tuesday’s passing game; defensive ends Jared Allen and Everson Griffen were credited with sacks and more plays should’ve been blown dead as a result of pressure, but the referees let the quarterbacks throw.

•Receiver Jerome Simpson showed off his new-found speed during one-on-one drills as he sprinted down on a 40-yard go-route, contorting his body to catch a pass over cornerback Roderick Williams for a touchdown.

•Even though backup center Joe Berger returned to the team this week, the Vikings continue to rotate guard Seth Olsen and rookie guard Jeff Baca in with the second-team offense for snaps.

•Safety Andrew Sendejo nabbed the only interception of the afternoon, being in the right place as quarterback James Vandenberg overshot his receiver in the middle of the field.

•The Vikings appear to be switching defensive tackles Fred Evans and Letroy Guion day-by-day with the first-team defense at nose tackle. Evans took the lion’s share of snaps on Monday and Guion on Tuesday with the first team.

•Cornerback Xavier Rhodes said he’s healthy after a hamstring pull last week, but the rookie had a rough day on Tuesday. On top of the aforementioned play by Ponder to Carlson, Rhodes was beat on a Ponder pass to receiver Jarius Wright as Rhodes attempted to jump the route and as a result gave up a big play.

•Cornerback Bobby Felder had a pass deflection from quarterback Matt Cassel to receiver LaMark Brown. Felder sat on Brown’s route and cleanly came away with the break up. On the next play, Felder was on receiver Joe Webb as he ran a go-route down the sideline, Felder was in perfect position to interrupt Webb’s near-catch.

•Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson grew up eating Wheaties with the likes of Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton and track star Michael Johnson staring back at him.

Now, Peterson gets to look at himself, as the Minnesota cereal conglomerate General Mills put his face on the box known as the “Breakfast of Champions.”

“That’s probably one of my greatest accomplishments,” Peterson said. “Growing up and seeing some of my heroes, being put on the cover of Wheaties, now seeing myself as the face, it’s amazing.”

Greenway had no idea that Peterson was on the box, but he wasn’t the least surprised.

“Is he on the Wheaties box?” Greenway said. “The guy’s amazing right? He deserves it, he’s a great teammate, great guy, deserves everything he gets.”

by Andrew Krammer

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