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Updated: July 30th, 2014 6:12pm
After adjusting practice reps, Norv Turner eyeing the offensive line

After adjusting practice reps, Norv Turner eyeing the offensive line

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Audio Clip
7/27/2014
1500 ESPN's Purple Podcast episode 2: Camp observations and Adam Thielen
The second episode of 1500 ESPN’s Purple Podcast with Andrew Krammer, Derek Wetmore, Judd Zulgad and Phil Mackey. It includes an Adam Thielen interview, including telling him that he’s the early leader in the clubhouse for #MrMankato. He’s got a decent shot to earn a spot on the Vikings roster as a wide receiver and special teams player, after spending time on the practice squad last season. He played college in Mankato and now is hoping to earn his stripes in training camp on the same fields. --- Before the interview, Andrew was asked about his observations during practices and walk-throughs: How is the linebacker situation playing out? Is Chad Greenway really in consideration for the middle linebacker position? Or is he a better candidate for the weakside? How will Jasper Brinkley fit? Is he the starting MLB? How does Anthony Barr fit and what do you envision will be his role? --- We’ve seen a strange package with Harrison Smith this weekend at practice—what do you read into that? How does Everson Griffen fit in? An observation about Griffen going head-to-head with Matt Kalil. --- Norv Turner on Saturday brought up Matt Asiata as one of the most impressive players he’s seen in the early part of camp. Should we read into that? What do the coaches think of Jerick McKinnon? How will he fit on the team?
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MANKATO, Minn. - Vikings coaches planned to meet during Tuesday's scheduled off day to re-assess the number of practice reps certain players should receive, based in part on what the coaching staff needs to learn.

Chad Greenway, for example, won't get as many reps in at middle linebacker because the staff will look at other players at that position. Greenway hasn't technically been ruled out as the Vikings MLB, but head coach Mike Zimmer said Wednesday they haven't seen enough from other players yet. Others probably will have their reps reduced because they haven't warranted the attention.

Offensive coordinator Norv Turner said the position group he's eager to evaluate is the offensive line.

The staff hasn't said it, but the assumption is that the group from a season ago will remain intact: Matt Kalil, Charlie Johnson, John Sullivan, Brandon Fusco and Phil Loadholt. Turner said he'd also like to substitute in younger players to see where they're at and give them a chance to compete.

"They have a good understanding of where there help is, who they need to help, who is coming off on a play, don't come off too soon and leave your guard by himself, things like that. As I've said, [offensive line coach] Jeff Davidson does an outstanding job with these guys and they've been together."

Knowing how one's teammates will act is important among the linemen, whether it's run blocking or pass protection. Some wonder, though, if knowing an old system together could prove detrimental as the group tries to learn Turner's schemes.

Turner won't have any of that, he said.

"They heard that from me right away. I really am not interested - you can't be interested, and I'm not interested - in what they've done, how they did it, what they did [in the past]," Turner said. "This is how we're doing it and I think there's always similarities, particularly in the offensive line. So that's been a bonus for us, that's been a positive."

At this point in camp, he's more interested in pointing out the positives than dwelling on the negatives. He praised the offensive line Wednesday for how well they worked together in Monday night's practice. And while he didn't name a specific player, he suggested that some people can get too down on players based on a few bad plays.

"I know there's people that have different opinions on different people based on a play or based on a couple plays, I tend not to do that, I try to look at the whole body of work. Because we're all affected by one play and you watch a game and I'm a fan and I'm rooting for a team and a guy drops a pass or a guy misses a block and you say, 'Oh, that bum.' And when you're coaching him you say, 'Hey, that guy had 76 plays and he had 72 good ones and four bad ones, let's fix the four bad ones.'

"I think some of our guys up front are better than people think," Turner said, before adding: "As a whole offensive group we have a lot of work to do."

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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