View Full Version : Linebackers scrutinized as minicamp begins

04-08-2006, 03:57 PM
Linebackers scrutinized as minicamp begins

Judd Zulgad, Star Tribune
Last update: April 07, 2006 – 9:41 PM

The linebacker position clearly remained a work in progress Friday as the Vikings opened their first minicamp under coach Brad Childress.
The team began the three-day camp with six linebackers on the 65-man roster and with no clear-cut plan about who will play where. At least not yet. Dontarrious Thomas and Napoleon Harris both saw time in the middle with the first team as the adjustment to the Cover-2 defense began, but defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin did not hesitate to move the linebackers around.

Thomas and newcomer Ben Leber said the coaching staff has told the linebackers they need to learn all three spots.

"Position [flexibility] is really important for guys to be able to play over the tight end, be able to play out in air," Childress said. "Part of our evaluation process is not only looking at them on tape last year -- and not trying to have any preconceived notions -- but it's also watching them practice, watching them learn."

The Vikings have made it clear they are looking to this month's draft to add depth at linebacker.

Family man

Receiver Marcus Robinson has a good reason for being one of the few players missing from the Vikings' offseason strength and conditioning program. Robinson's wife, Keyomi, recently opened a hair salon near the family's home in suburban Chicago, leaving him to care for the couple's two children. The Robinsons' daughter, Mykala, is in first grade, and their son, Marcus Jr., is 14 months old.

Robinson, who is attending minicamp, has been working with a personal trainer and also plans to make offseason trips to the Vikings' facility. "I've been doing this for 10 years," he said. "I've been coming to every workout for 10 years. This year, my wife, I allowed her to go and do the things she wants to do."


• Running back Mewelde Moore, who underwent surgery on his right hand after the season, participated in individual drills Friday but remains unable to catch the ball; safety Willie Offord (knee) did some individual work but won't be ready for team drills until the May 12-14 minicamp; Leber (foot) took part in the early session but did little in the afternoon workout. Defensive end Kenechi Udeze (knee) worked with the first team.

• Chris Kluwe (knee) didn't do any punting but did get some work in serving as the holder for new kicker Ryan Longwell. Brad Johnson was the Vikings' holder last season, but the team would prefer not to have its starting quarterback handle that job.

• New right guard Steve Hutchinson worked out a deal to get his longtime jersey number of 76 from offensive guard Chris Liwienski. Liwienski will wear No. 67. Hutchinson would not say whether cash changed hands. Cornerback Fred Smoot also switched numbers, going from 27 to 21.

• The Vikings are in the process of setting up a visit for Texas quarterback Vince Young.

Linebackers scrutinized as minicamp begins (http://www.startribune.com/510/story/359014.html)

04-08-2006, 05:26 PM
Udeze with the first team? gooooooood. hopefully he can stay healthy, K-Will has to practice against hutch and birk now, he'll be back to pro bowl form.