Vikings Training Camp Update: Day 2; McKinnie Released, and Peterson and Ponder Updates


The Minnesota Vikings camp is in full swing, and their first preseason game looms less than two weeks away.

Due to the new CBA, newly acquired quarterback Donovan McNabb has yet to have his first practice as a Minnesota Viking.

Regardless of McNabb’s absence on the field, there has been plenty of happenings at the Minnesota State-Mankato campus in the first two days of Vikings’ training camp.

Heading into camp, the three of the biggest story lines would be running back Adrian Peterson’s contract extension negotiations; how McNabb would adjust to his third offensive system, and third team in three years; and how little known first-round pick quarterback Christian Ponder would adapt to the NFL game without taking part in an OTA or mini-camp.

While none of those story lines will have a definitive answer any time soon–excluding Peterson, except I expect it to drag on for much of the season– only the Ponder story line has had any resemblance of an answer.

Battling the nerves of his first NFL training camp, Ponder struggled during drills on day one. But who can blame him? It was his first time taking part in any sort of team ran on-field production.

But on day two fans were able to see signs of the player Vikings personal were so high on when they reached for him with the 12th pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

According to Minneapolis Star-Tribune and 1500ESPN’s Jim Souhan (via his Twitter account):

Funny thing about Ponder: He looks better in team situations than in drills. First impression today is good. He’s accurate.

Which makes a lot of sense.

Ponder’s numbers weren’t outstanding at Florida State. Nor were his workouts at the NFL combine on par with the other quarterback prospects. But being a gamer who can lead an offense in team situations is what the Vikings and their fans hope Ponder can be.

We’ve struggled through the Tarvaris Jackson era who had a cannon of an arm, run as fast as any other quarterback, while also looking much better in drills than in game situations.

It’s like in baseball. Some of the best hitters at 5 ‘o clock (batting practice) are on the bench at 7 ‘o clock (game time), because they can’t perform.

While the Ponder era looks to be at least– hopefully– two years away, it seems that after two days of his first training camp, he may very likely be what the doctor ordered for the Vikings franchise. A quarterback who performs when it matters.

But again, it’s only been two days. Time will tell.

Here is some additional information from the first two days of camp:

– It seems that no progress has been made during camp on the status of the contract extension for Adrian Peterson. But no news may be good news. We have seen in the past that Peterson isn’t the wisest Twitter user. Add in that he has shown up at camp, and not in the midst of a holdout, makes me believe a deal will eventually get done at some point this season.

– According to the Twitter page of Pro Football Talk, the Vikings parted ways with starting left tackle Bryant McKinnie on day two:

Vikings cut Bryant McKinnie, per league source.

This opens the door for Charlie Johnson. Johnson, who was Peyton Manning’s former protector of his blind side in Indianapolis, has been practicing with the first unit both days. Expect him to be named the official starter any day.

McKinnie left practice on Monday with what appeared to be a non-injury related exit. But on Tuesday it became known that he had some sort of pain in his back. Which, in my opinion and the opinion of anyone with a brain, has to be a result of him reporting to camp vastly over weight.

It sounds as if Cedric Griffin is back to 100% after coming off his second ACL tear in two seasons. Per 1500’s Tom Pelissero, Griffin was back working with the first team at right corner back on Monday.

– Monday marked the ten-year anniversary of offensive lineman Korey Stringer’s death at training camp. The Vikings honored Stringer with a moment of silence before practice, and they also painted a large purple  number 77 on the main practice field.

– Concluding on a more positive note. Adrian Peterson was excused from practice today to tend to his fiancee who went into labor with their child.

-Brett Cloutier

Brett is a contributor to The Sports Bank as a he covers all things Minnesota sports. You can follow him on Twitter @brettcloutier

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