Tuesday (The Vikings' safety dance) edition: Wha' Happened?

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 09:34
In the NFL, now more than ever, a team has to have quality depth in the secondary. The Vikings, like any team, are trying to build toward that. But right now, they are not even close to being there. Head coach Mike Zimmer knows it, and that’s why he yanked old security blanket Chris Crocker out of semi-retirement for one more season on Monday. Per Mark Craig’s assessment of the safety spot, which is is more urgently in need of help than cornerbacks but perhaps not by much: Zimmer had eight safeties on the roster before adding Crocker. Other than Harrison Smith, the group has been a disappointment that merited Sunday’s transaction. Injuries to Jamarca Sanford, Andrew Sendejo and Robert Blanton have dogged the position since Zimmer was hired in January. Sanford, the incumbent, missed most of the offseason installment periods, while Sendejo sat out everything from the end of last season until coming off the physically unable to perform list and practicing in full pads Monday. Blanton was given the job to lose at the start of camp and then lost it four practices later when he pulled a hamstring. Kurt Coleman, Mistral Raymond and rookie Antone Exum have seen time with the first unit in camp, but weren’t good enough to keep Zimmer from reaching out to his old, reliable friend. Read between the lines — or even right on the page — and you could tell Zimmer was getting frustrated with the safety play. Here are a few of his quotes from various transcripts during camp: July 25: Q: What do you want to see from the safety position opposite of Harrison Smith? A: It is hard for me to evaluate that right now because I have not seen Andrew Sendejo and the walk-through today was the first time I saw Jamarca Sanford. But in the NFL, you have to have a guy that can cover pretty well because of the situations you can get into. Harrison is a pretty smart guy, so you can get by with a guy that is maybe not as intelligent and quickly making the snaps. But for our safeties, we are always looking for the same thing in the guys – guys who can cover, guys who are good tacklers, guys who can blitz well, and guys who are good at making decisions. For each position in the back end, we are looking for players that have great acceleration and can get out of a cut. July 28 (basically the same question as three days earlier): Q: What do you see in the competition in the safety spot opposite Harrison Smith? A: Well right now, I would say (Robert) Blanton is a little bit ahead of the rest of the guys, but that will be a lot more determined when we get into the camp and preseason games, tackling, and how things go. He has been doing a lot good things as far as lining up, covering people, being in the right place, but with the safeties until you find out how they tackle, what kind of angles they take, what kind of instincts they have in the course of ball games, I really don’t know. Monday: Q: Does it make it easier when you have a couple of safeties that have experience at cornerback, like Robert Blanton and Antone Exum? A: It helps a little bit. They’re probably playing safety because they can’t play corner. And then in comes the 34-year-old Crocker. Perhaps he and Smith can be every down guys that stabilize the position and make depth less of an issue. Or maybe the questions about safety will dog the Vikings all season. Time will tell.
Categories: Local

Gophers' Fasching, Collins among 27 remaining at U.S. National Junior Evaluation Camp

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 09:31
Three Gophers released after opening weekend of camp.
Categories: Local

Where Are They Now: Former PG Al Nolen pursuing a second dream, off the court

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 09:23
After four years at the University of Minnesota, Nolen bounced around the D-league and Europe before coming home to inspire the next generation.
Categories: Local

Access Vikings morning walkthrough: Spielman, Crocker, depth and more

Star Tribune Sports - Tue, 08/05/2014 - 07:47
We walk you through what's going on with the Vikings today.
Categories: Local

Gophers' Cobb wants senior season to end without regrets

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 22:16
Senior David Cobb is out to atone for a regret-filled ending to his 2013 season.
Categories: Local

Twins notes: Did Target Field turf weather Sir Paul?

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 22:16
Eyes will be on the grass at Target Field and how it survived the Paul McCartney concert on Saturday night.
Categories: Local

Twins scramble to fill once-deep center field position

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 22:16
Unsteadiness is now the only constant of a position once known for depth within the organization.
Categories: Local

Anyanwu's knee injury ends his season

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:41
Gophers tight end Duke Anyanwu injured his right knee in Saturday's practice and will be out for the season, Coach Jerry Kill said Monday.
Categories: Local

Vikings day at camp: Aug. 4

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:25
Dispatches from Mankato:
Categories: Local

Veteran Wolves center Turiaf is a rookie again as summer intern

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:17
The center is preparing for a career in advertising after his playing days end.
Categories: Local

Crocker's arrival not a good sign for Vikings safety depth

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:16
Mike Zimmer brought in familiar face Chris Crocker to shore up a troubled position on defense.
Categories: Local

Scoggins: Vikings GM Spielman is building a future

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:15
A core of young players could be the foundation for team success for years.
Categories: Local

Zebra mussel discovered on Green Lake, despite lake association efforts

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:07
Lake association’s extra efforts fail to halt invasive species.
Categories: Local

Packers to induct Brett Favre into their Hall of Fame

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 21:05
Brett Favre and the Packers didn’t part amicably, but he said he will be “honored” to come back to see his No 4 retired next summer.
Categories: Local

Rand: Add up the clues, and you'll see Love as a Cavalier

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 20:20
The signs certainly are pointing to the Wolves trading Kevin Love to Cleveland.
Categories: Local

Moore again Western Conference player of the week

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 18:47
It's the fourth consecutive honor for the Lynx forward.
Categories: Local

TFD: Here's Joe Mauer in a Cedar Rapids Kernels jersey

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 18:45
Joe Mauer is taking batting practice with the Cedar Rapids Kernels on Monday before playing a rehab game there Tuesday (along with pitcher Ricky Nolasco). Here is a shot of Joe in his minor league uniform, via the Kernels’ Instagram. Strange, but he looks younger wearing it:
Categories: Local

What you missed at Vikings training camp on Monday: Crocker practices, Teddy punts, Sendejo returns

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 18:44
New Vikings safety Chris Crocker has arrived in Mankato. So have the dog days of training camp, with the preseason opener four days away.
Categories: Local

Projecting the Vikings' current two-deep depth chart

Star Tribune Sports - Mon, 08/04/2014 - 15:11
Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer has shooed away questions about his depth chart. But here is our best guess at how the two deep stands at this moment.
Categories: Local


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