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FIRST THINGS FIRST
We’ ve seen this movie before. A thousand times. First play from scrimmage: A play-action bootleg roll-out pass to Jimmy Kleinsasser in the flat. Tarvaris Jackson‘s  comfort play.

TOO LITTLE TO TELL
Tarvaris Jackson
didn’t play enough to fairly evaluate his performance but he sure did look the same as we’ve seen. Short, easy passes. Forcing balls into tight coverage. No long balls. Familiar plays. So much for expanding the playbook. In his fifth year.

PRACTICE MAKES IMPERFECT?
For a team suffering from the absence of too many key veterans during training camp, what’s up with the one-series-and-out for the presumptive heir to Brett Favre? For a guy who clearly needs the gameday reps?

FOX
Tarvaris Fox Jackson. Who knew?

ODD MAN OUT?
This is the most extensive look we’ve yet had of Sage Rosenfels at quarterback and it was a pretty comforting look. Rosenfels made some great throws, threw the ball away when needed, looked defenders off passes, managed the two-minute offense effectively and looked generally competent.

It’s a mystery why this guy is not second on the depth-chart.

Joe Webb looked comfortable behind center, throws a bullet, and demonstrated nice touch on the ball on his touchdown pass to fellow rookie Mickey Shuler.

Given that Childress has stuck with Jackson as the primary backup despite plenty of evidence indicating the coach reached deep into the sixth round to pick his Quarterback Of The Future in the second round of the 2006 draft; given how little of a chance Rosenfels has had thus far; given how excited the Vikings’ powers that be appear to be over Joe Webb’s potential; and given Childress’ failure to slide another favorite quarterback prospect (Tyler Thigpen) through waivers, it’s my guess that Rosenfels is being showcased as trade bait and what Childress really wants to do is keep Webb on the regular-season roster.

SAY WHAT?
Play-by-play guy Ari Wolfe said “Madieu Williams is a key guy, now in his seventh season. And I know that they’re hoping that he stays healthy, he’s going to elevate the play at the safety position.”  Clearly, the guy did not watch any Vikings games last year. It wasn’t about Williams’ health, it was about his poor play.

THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT
Williams went and proved it on the very next play by sniffing out the coverage, breaking on the ball, and dropping a sure pick-six.

THERE’S NO QUITTING IN FOOTBALL!
Asher Allen
did not fight his way back on the field during kick coverage, opening up the lane through which Danny Amendola scooted through for a punt return touchdown.

A GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE
Rookie Chris Cook stripped a ball from Rams kick returner Danny Amendola that led to a touchdown then stripped a ball from a receiver in pass coverage but missed a tough-to-execute opportunity to down a kick inside the five yard line.

Making the most of his one touch, rookie fullback Ryan D’Imperio caught a pass in the flat and plowed over defenders for a first down in the red zone. Can he block? Can he pick up blitzes? Can he replace Naufahu TahiPlease?

TOUGH DAY AT THE OFFICE
Chris Clark (penalties), Chris DeGeare (penalties and missed blocks) Taye Biddle (two drops, despite a great name).

ONE DOWN AND OUT
Albert Young looked every bit the third down specialist. He can block. He can catch. He doesn’t fumble. He can pick up a blitz. He can slip out underneath, catch a screen, and find the first down marker. But that’s it. He doesn’t appear to be an every-down kind of back.

THE HUMAN TACKLING DUMMY
Toby Gerhart, on the other hand, looks like he’s got the stuff of an NFL running back. He packs soft hands, some open-field speed, quick feet, some moves, a good stiff-arm, and pile-driving ability into his 231 pound frame. Looks like a perfect change-of-pace complement to Adrian Peterson. Speaking of whom: Gerhart managed to hang onto a ball that nearly slipped from his grasp after a teammate nearly knocked it out. Maybe he could teach that trick to AD.

To Be Determined: Gerhart’s blocking and blitz-pick-up ability.

ESCAPABILITY
Darius Reynaud looked like he’s got some talent in the backfield.  Hope to see him get more touches during the pre-season.

MR. FRAILTY
So there’s a reason the Vikings have kept Garrett Mills around for so long. If the guy can stay healthy, it looks like he might be able to compete with Visanthe Shiancoe for a starting tight end position. He showed soft hands, nice route running skills, excellent body control, and the speed to outrun (an admittedly slow) linebacker. Mills made an amazing adjustment to catch a ball between two defenders on the sideline during the two-minute drill at the end of the half.

THE PAYNEMASTER
You gotta hope this guy makes the roster. Former Gopher and he’s got a great name. Logan Payne was having a superb game and, for this one audition anyway, it looked like he was going to blow Jaymar Johnson out of the water. But then he started dropping balls he should’ve caught.

TIED
The “competition” between Ryan Longwell and Rhys Lloyd amounted to a pair of extra points, no misses, and similar kickoffs for each. (Except, the NFL is apparently crediting Rhys Lloyd with a sack! Nicely played, sir.)

CASPERS
Rick Speilman‘s definition for players who disappear during games. You listening, Tyrell Johnson?

BLANKET COVERAGE?
Jasper Brinkley?!? Nice to see Brinkley actually does have some coverage ability.

Play-by-play guy Ari Wolfe on Brinkley: “He lost a little bit of weight but he feels faster than ever.”  BUT he feels faster than ever? Doesn’t losing weight tend to make you faster?!?

Analyst Mike Mayock on Brinkley: “He was 270-something at South Carolina. They got him down to about 255, 260 and he has not lost any speed.” Um…the problem was he didn’t have much speed last year.

The point apparently lost on our two neighborhood announcers: Happily, it looks like Brinkley has gained speed with the pounds he’s shed.

BLOOD RED ZONE
Can we get the blood red Farmers Insurance out of my red zone, please?

GRATUITY
Can we get rid of the gratuitous sideline “interview,” please?  The only time I want to hear from the sideline is for injury reports when there’s something to report.

YEAH, YEAH, YEAH
Bryant McKinnie‘s expression in response to Randy Shaver‘s “sideline interview” prefaced with “This is one of those interviews where I need to be standing on a step-ladder because you’re such a big guy.” Compared to Shaver, who former Vikings lineman Artis Hicks might’ve referred to as an a “normal, walking-around-sized person.”

SHOW YOUR HORNS?
One of the Vikings 50th anniversary promo commercials features great Vikings running backs through the decades: Bill Brown, Dave Osborne, Chuck Foreman, Darrin Nelson, Robert Smith, Michael Bennett, and Adrian Peterson. Smart. You can quibble over the absence of Tommy Mason or Hugh McEhlenny and the presence of Bennett but at least they didn’t stick D.J. Dozier in there.

On the other hand: Another promo apparently featuring Vikings kick returners showcases someone called Reed from the 1961 squad (except according to Pro-Football-Reference.com, the 1961 roster carried neither a Reed nor a number 27), Clinton Jones, Hershel Walker and Qadry Ismail. Hershel Walker? Ismail?!? If you’re gonna include Hershel Walker as a kick returner, why not Randy Moss, who had a far greater impact for the team for a far longer time? How ’bout David Palmer?

WHAT THE HELL?!?
What’s the new Sports Authority commercial all about??  A kid puts on an Under Armour shirt and turns into a roided-out Polamal-clone with Popeye forearms?? (I’m available to write copy for commercials, by the way, Sports Authority.)

TOO TOUGH TO TELL
Do the Vikings have that much defensive line talent that deep on the bench or are the Rams just that bad? Fred Evans, Letroy Guion, and Jayme Mitchell combined for four sacks. Mitchell should’ve been credited with an assist as well because his pressure forced another sack.

AN ENGLISH MAJOR’S GUIDE TO CHILISPEAK
Brad Childress on his animated sideline talk with Sage Rosenfelds: “I probably talk to you (media members) more harshly than I talk to the quarterback. It may have seemed that way. Just talking to the quarterback, over-communicating clarity. Sometimes you have to over-communicate clarity. Sometimes, you have to elevate.”  [My emphasis.]

Let’s deconstruct.

  • Communicate: To impart knowledge of; make known.
  • Clarity: Clearness or lucidity as to perception or understanding; freedom from indistinctness or ambiguity.
  • Elevate: To move or raise to a higher place or position; lift up.

If you communicate, or make known, then the presumption is that what you’ve communicated has been understood. If you’ve been understood, then over-communicating is communicating more than is necessary.

Clarity is the state of precisely accurate understanding of the thing, state or situation being perceived.

Elevate is the act of moving something to a higher physical position.

Let’s translate.

Sometimes you have to redundantly tell someone about clarity. Sometimes, you have to levitate.

HAPPY BIRTHDAYS
Happy birthday today to Ryan Longwell (36) and Kevin Williams (30).

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