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Notebook: As some NFL teams scale back, Vikings keep status quo for rookie practices

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Some NFL teams have taken steps to lessen the risk of their newly-drafted players getting injured.

Under the collective bargaining agreement, teams are permitted a three-day session with rookies that can be held one or two weeks after the draft. Rules already limit players to shorts and helmets, no live contact and no more than 3.5 hours on the field split between two practices.

After Jacksonville’s top pick last year, defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., tore his anterior cruciate ligament on the team’s first day of rookie camp, the Jaguars decided to switch things up. This month they’re holding a ‘rookie orientation,’ which will focus more on meetings than on-field development. The Los Angeles Rams have taken a similar approach under Jeff Fisher. First-year Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is taking it a step further in Miami, where he chose to eliminate on-field work altogether during the rookie minicamp.

Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer preaches annual change, but he’s not going to advocate for less time on the field.

“It’s important for me to see them. I want to see them,” Zimmer said Friday. “I understand some of these teams are not doing anything. I don’t think you can be scared. You have to do what you want to do. And I like watching them out here on the field at practice, so. We’re going to continue to do that and hopefully we don’t get anybody hurt.”

A few minor bumps happened during Friday’s afternoon practice open to the media. Top pick Laquon Treadwell, who has yet to sign his contract and is practicing on an injury waiver, lightly walked off the field about an hour before the end of practice. He got his left leg looked at and quickly returned.

Before the afternoon session, Treadwell said he’s expecting to sign his contract soon.

“It’ll be done,” Treadwell said. “Got a good agent and just waiting for the go-ahead.”

As far as getting on the field, the 20-year-old Treadwell is happy to be back in his element.

“This is what we’ve all been waiting on.”

Alexander gives back

Vikings rookie cornerback Mackensie Alexander didn’t wait to donate to his community.

Alexander, the Vikings’ second-round pick (54th overall) last week, made an arrangement with Adidas to donate $10,000 worth of clothes and shoes to the Boys and Girls Club in Collier County, Fla., where he grew up working orchards as the son of Haitian immigrants.

“I know how it was when I was a child,” Alexander said. “I didn’t go to a Boys and Girls Club. For them to have that now, the gym and stuff to keep them out of trouble. My Boys and Girls Club was going to the field and working every day with my mom and dad.”

Alexander, 22, fondly recalled the time he received a pair of gloves from former NFL star Edgerrin James, who attended the same high school in Immokalee, Fla. Not only did he keep the gloves, but he remembered how a larger-than-life name reached back to help a kid from his hometown.

“There’s a lot of people in America that are successful, but they don’t come back home,” Alexander said. “They don’t show their face, and the kids don’t know who they are. They don’t have anybody to look after, and that’s when you’ve got problems of kids being bad, they’re going to jail, not doing positive things. I just want them to look at me as a positive outlet.”

‘A good opportunity’

Joel Stave was born in Wisconsin and left the Badgers as the program’s all-time winningest quarterback with a 31-10 record.

He’s also been a Vikings fan since he can remember. Stave’s aim has crossed borders to Minnesota, where he’s now the fourth quarterback on the 90-man roster. After going undrafted, he signed a three-year deal with the Vikings for the league minimum.

“I had always admitted it,” Stave said of his Vikings fandom. “My dad grew up in North Dakota so he was always a Vikings fan — me and my brother, too.”

Stave, 23, said he was talking with four teams after the draft and chose the Vikings because of the current quarterback situation. Behind starter Teddy Bridgewater is 36-year-old Shaun Hill and second-year passer Taylor Heinicke, who won the third-string job out of training camp last year.

“I think the way [offensive coordinator Norv] Turner runs the offense is pretty consistent with what I was doing in college,” Stave said. “I like the way they coach here. I know they keep three quarterbacks on the roster, so it was a good opportunity to just compete and earn a spot.”

Late hits

  • The Vikings do not announce tryout players. This weekend’s group includes quarterback Marquise Williams (UNC), long snapper Courtland Clavette (Brown), running back CJ Ham (Augustana), tight end Nick Lee (Augustana), receiver Zach Vraa (North Dakota State), guard Lawrence Walker (Mankato State), defensive back Edwin Young (Northern Iowa), safety Antonio Johnson (Minnesota) and punter Nick O’Toole (West Virginia)
  • First-round pick Laquon Treadwell exited briefly and had his left leg evaluated by athletic trainer Eric Sugarman. He returned fewer than 20 minutes after leaving the field. Receiver Terrell Sinkfield also left early with an apparent leg injury.
  • Receiver Moritz Boehringer, a sixth-round pick, took part in his first official American football practice on Friday. He was seen losing his lunch on the sideline during the team’s second session of the day.

The post Notebook: As some NFL teams scale back, Vikings keep status quo for rookie practices appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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