Notebook: Josh Robinson flashes while Vikings offense misses chances
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Josh Robinson's left hamstring still doesn't feel quite right, but that didn't stop the rookie cornerback from making his presence felt in the Minnesota Vikings' annual night practice on Saturday at Blakeslee Stadium.
In his most extended action on defense in camp, Robinson shoved Michael Jenkins out of bounds to render a fade incomplete in the end zone and broke up two other passes, including a comeback route for Greg Childs on third-and-9 in a team (11-on-11) period.
"I've been definitely waiting for this, just the chance to run with the defense," said Robinson, who strained the hamstring chasing Jarius Wright in a one-on-one drill in the first practice of camp on July 27.
"We've been looking good all along, so I know we're going to continue to do that, continue to improve and that's what I'm looking forward to -- this defense being one of the best defenses in the conference."
The Vikings envision Robinson as a contributor on defense as a rookie, although the third-round draft pick from Central Florida still needs work on his technique and ball skills before he's ready.
Getting back onto the field the past two days on defense is a step in the right direction.
"It was good to see him out here," coach Leslie Frazier said. "He's missed a lot of time in the short time we've been here. So, to see him out there getting his hands on balls -- that's a good sign for us. We're counting on him to be a factor in our secondary."
For now, Robinson is working with the third string, but that may not last long after the way he performed on Saturday -- even if he's still trying to get healthy.
Asked if the hamstring remains an issue, Robinson said, "I feel it. But I'm trying to be wise, trying to make sure I'm rehabbing it and making sure it's healthy before I push it too hard."
The offense was at its best in the red zone on Saturday, with Christian Ponder hitting Percy Harvin on a slant for a touchdown in one team drill and Joe Webb connecting with Allen Reisner on a beautiful fade between two defenders in the next series.
Ponder missed a chance for a huge play in the blitz drill, overthrowing wide-open Jerome Simpson on a post route. Later, he completed five straight passes in a move-the-ball drill, only to have the drive stall on a Fred Evans touch-sack and a holding penalty that knocked the unit out of field-goal range.
"I thought we made some plays, a lot of plays," Ponder said. "Made some mistakes. But for a first scrimmage, I thought it was pretty good."
The night's biggest play was a roughly 50-yard connection from fourth-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson to Devin Aromashodu against Reggie Jones. None of the four offensive units scored in the move-the-ball drill.
Surgery for Schwartz
Offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz is targeting a Week 1 return as he prepares to undergo surgery to repair a sports hernia.
Schwartz, who had been competing with Brandon Fusco for the starting job at right guard, left the team on Friday to return to the Twin Cities for tests after complaining of an abdominal issue.
The sports hernia is not believed to be related to the hip surgery that sidelined Schwartz all of last season. But it almost certainly wipes out his chances for opening the season as a starter.
"We'll know more after the surgery," Frazier said, "but generally, you can expect at least four weeks. At least."
Chris DeGeare is expected to take over as the backup to Fusco, Frazier said, "but we'll keep working and looking, too, to see if we can get some other guys to come in and compete also."
Peterson headed home
Halfback Adrian Peterson attended Saturday's practice but was then expected to return to his home in Houston for a Monday court date in his resisting arrest case.
Frazier confirmed Peterson -- arrested on July 8 after an altercation with an off-duty police officer in which Peterson claims he was the victim -- will be absent on Monday, barring a last-minute scheduling change.
Peterson remains on the active/physically unable to perform list as he rehabilitates from knee reconstruction and wouldn't have participated in the practice anyway.
End Jeff Charleston was in pads but didn't participate in practice on Saturday, a day after undergoing an MRI for an ankle injury that apparently wasn't significant.
Others sitting out practice were: tackles DeMarcus Love (shoulder/pectoral) and Pat Brown (knee), safety Robert Blanton (hamstring), halfback Jordan Todman (ankle), tight end John Carlson (hamstring) and receiver Kamar Jorden (hand/wrist).
Antoine Winfield returned to his usual spot at left cornerback in team drills after resting the past two days.
No reassurance needed
Defensive coordinator Alan Williams dismissed the suggestion Jasper Brinkley needed to provide reassurances he could handle the starting job at middle linebacker after finishing the offseason on the sideline because of a groin strain.
However, Williams tempered his praise for Brinkley, who sat out all of last season following hip surgery and hasn't started a game since he filled in for E.J. Henderson at the end of the 2009 season.
"He's been consistent throughout these five practices, but it's only been five practices," Williams said. "We'd like to see how he does in the ballgame and go from there."
Erin Henderson has been replacing Brinkley in the middle.
• Rookie PK Blair Walsh continued to flash his big leg, hitting 7 of 8 field-goal attempts from between 36 and 50 yards, with the lone miss wide right from 45 yards on the left hash. The 50-yarder nearly cleared the hill beyond the east end zone and would have been good from at least 60.
• G Grant Cook didn't participate because he wasn't previously in an NFL training camp and thus must wait three days for contact drills. The other guard the Vikings signed in the past day, Bridger Buche, previously was in camp with Pittsburgh and participated on Saturday.
• CB Nick Taylor, who was waived/injured last weekend, underwent surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right shoulder on Wednesday and watched practice with the arm in a sling.
• Unofficial attendance for the night session was 10,500.