Notebook: Jared Allen's speed rush gives Charlie Johnson more trouble
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Jared Allen got the better of Charlie Johnson again on Monday, beating the Minnesota Vikings' new left tackle for two touch-sacks in about 15 passing snaps during team (11-on-11) drills in the padded morning practice.
The matchup wasn't as lopsided as it was on Thursday, when Allen ran circles around Johnson in the former Indianapolis Colt's practice debut. But Allen never had this sort of success in camp against Johnson's predecessor, Bryant McKinnie, whose weight and conditioning led to his release last week.
"They're different players, honestly," Allen said. "McKinnie's a big guy. He kind of engulfs you when you come around the edge. I think Charlie's -- I don't want to say he's more athletic, because McKinnie's an athletic guy, (but) he's quicker. Their sets are a little different.
"Overall, I think Charlie's probably a little more aggressive in the run blocking game. You can't compare the two. It's really apples and oranges. They're two totally different kind of players. You've got a big, huge body in McKinnie who puts that weight on you and it just drains you, and you've got a quicker guy who's really going to try to use his hands and leverage on you."
At 6-foot-4 and 305 pounds, Johnson is the smallest member of the Vikings' starting offensive line and doesn't come close to matching the 6-foot-8 McKinnie's 94-inch wingspan. Allen's speed rush has given Johnson the most trouble, but the three-time All-Pro has bulled Johnson a few times, too.
"I don't feel like there's a competition between the two of us," Allen said, noting it was a process for him to learn the Vikings' defensive system when he arrived in 2008.
"I think he's working on what he needs to work on and I'm just trying to work on what I need to get better at. I don't wake up in the morning and say, 'I've got to beat Charlie Johnson today.' As long as my hands and feet start working, my progressions and my eyes are reacting, I'm happy and I'm pretty sure he's the same way."
But are coaches happy with what they've seen?
Newcomer or not, Johnson will be asked to block Donovan McNabb's blind side for at least a series or two in Saturday's preseason opener at Tennessee. And unlike in practice, McNabb won't have a red no-contact jersey to protect him against the Titans.
Asked if he anticipates needing to give Johnson help on the edge, coach Leslie Frazier said, "You always do some things gameplan-wise -- that's just part of it in our league. There may be some weeks where you have to keep a tight end based on who you're playing against. There may be some weeks where we say, 'You know, we're going to open it up and get people out.'
"That will be a game-plan decision. That won't be something I think we have to go into every ballgame saying we have to chip a defensive end. I don't foresee that."
Joe Webb played one snap on Monday morning at receiver -- the position at which he made his NFL debut in December before injuring a hamstring.
But Frazier indicated the Vikings' thoughts about using Webb in a multi-positional role will go nowhere if the second-year pro beats out top draft pick Christian Ponder for the No. 2 quarterback job behind Donovan McNabb.
"He's a tremendous athlete and he can do some other things," Frazier said, "but to be fair to Joe and our team, we need to let him concentrate on quarterback -- not having it in the back of his mind, 'Am I going to be moved to receiver?' Who knows? He may end up being our No. 2 quarterback, and now you're one injury away from that guy being in the game."
Webb has outperformed Ponder through the first week of camp, although that's not saying much considering the way the rookie's head has been swimming. On Monday, Webb ran the second-string offense, finished 6-for-9 passing in team (11-on-11) drills and completed the pass of the day -- an on-the-run strike downfield to Emmanuel Arceneaux, who had gotten behind rookie safety Chris Adingupu">Chris Adingupu.
"Right now, I'm learning everything as a quarterback," Webb said. "I did what you're talking about in college, when I had to play receiver there, go to quarterback the next possession. When I study, I study the whole thing as a quarterback. So, if I were switched to receiver I would study as a quarterback so that way I would know what everyone (has to do)."
• DE D'Aundrae Reed, a seventh-round pick from Arizona, had three touch-sacks during team drills. "He's a guy that we're going to keep an eye and looking forward to see how he performs in some of these preseason games," Frazier said. "In practice, he's flashing. We were talking about him in our staff meeting (Sunday) night. We're anxious to see how he does against some new competition."
• Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer named WR Jaymar Johnson, WR Greg Camarillo, CB Marcus Sherels and maybe RB Lorenzo Booker as the top candidates for punt-return duties. WR Percy Harvin is the top kick returner, although Booker is expected to chip in as well.
• The Bodog Sportsbook set an over/under of seven wins for the Vikings this season.