Blame It On The Heat
This morning marked my inaugural journey to Vikings Training Camp in Mankato, Minnesota. To go along with the high temperature, there were also a few fireworks. Ray Edwards and Toby Gerhart got into a shoving match, Eric Bieniemy was cursing like a sailor, and Brian Robison had his way against the offensive line.
The skirmish between Ray Edwards and rookie Toby Gerhart occurred during a simulated two-minute drill. After Gerhart released his “chip” block of Edwards, the rookie caught a Tarvaris Jackson screen pass and ran for a first down. Ray Edwards clearly didn’t approve of being chipped, and proceeded to shove Gerhart as he tried to get back to the huddle. Gerhart stood his ground and pushed Edwards back.
This marked the height of the action between these two players, but tempers continued to flare after the play as running backs coach Eric Bieniemy and defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier both came running in to break up the tussle. Gerhart cooled quickly, but Edwards took a bit more convincing.
Frazier restrained Edwards, but things between those two became heated. Jared Allen jumped in and made peace between Frazier and Edwards. With egos beginning to cool off, Edwards was sent to the sideline for the remainder of the drill.
“It happens,” Edwards said. “It’s hot out here. Some guys do things you shouldn’t do in practice against other players. It happens but sometimes you have to let those guys know.”
After a camp where Toby Gerhart has taken his fair share of abuse from the defense, he seemed unfazed by the whole incident.
“He didn’t like that chip I guess,” Gerhart said. “I didn’t expect it at all, but that’s the way it goes.”
Coach Childress lauded Gerhart’s “edge” and then likened him to Popeye.
“It’s like the old Popeye deal, ‘That’s all I can stands, I can’t stands no more.’”
Another great quote today came from Eric Bieniemy. Easily the most audible coach on the field, his deep voice echoes across the pitch. After Benny Sapp intercepted a Joe Webb pass in the end zone, Bieniemy could be heard as far away as Blakeslee Stadium yelling, “Now that’s some good [stuff]!” (only he didn’t say “stuff”) Putting aside his expletive-filled words of encouragement, I think Eric Bieniemy is going to be a good coach in this league. He will certainly get some interviews when his contract expires after this season.
Another player Bieniemy would surely approve of is defensive end Brian Robison. Robison is quietly putting together another good training camp. He caught my eye today after he embarrassed second year tackle Patrick Brown during one-on-one drills. After beating the young tackle twice, Robison threw his helmet in celebration as he raised his hands up over his head. His celebration ignited cheers and sent the defensive line buzzing with excitement. If the fourth year player out of Texas continues his high-level of play, he might push Ray Edwards for playing time.
Finally, Senator Al Franken was in attendance today. I didn’t get the chance to see him, but Tom Pelissero of 1500ESPN – Twin Cities said the senator predicted “Favre will come back and the team is going to Super Bowl.”