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Updated: August 3rd, 2011 8:21pm
Notebook: Vikings ready for first full-squad practice, cap compliance

Notebook: Vikings ready for first full-squad practice, cap compliance

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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MANKATO, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings' new quarterback and 15 other players finally will be allowed to practice on Thursday. Probably.

Work continued between the NFL and the players' association late Wednesday night on finalizing terms of the new collective-bargaining agreement, including drug testing and the personal-conduct policy.

The league year was scheduled to begin at 3:01 p.m. Thursday, allowing all of the contracts signed since the lockout ended on July 25 to become official and hundreds of veteran free agents around the league to begin practice. But if the CBA isn't finalized, the start of the league year would be pushed back and players held out a little longer.

"This whole offseason's been weird," said receiver Michael Jenkins, who has been working out privately with quarterback Donovan McNabb, fellow receiver Bernard Berrian and others on the ineligible list since practice began on Monday.

"It's tough on the rookies coming in. The first time they put on a helmet is at training camp in front of fans. This whole CBA deal where free agents can't practice until Aug. 4. Everything's been a little different, but you've got to roll with it. Everybody has to do the same thing."

The Vikings flip-flopped Thursday's practice schedule, moving their walkthrough to 9 a.m. and their first fully padded practice to 3 p.m., when the full roster could take part if the CBA is done.

The salary cap also would kick in at that point, and the Vikings were believed to be close to compliance after cutting tackle Bryant McKinnie and his $5.4 million cap number on Tuesday. Citing a source, ProFootballTalk.com reported the Vikings were $5.6 million over the cap before McKinnie's release.

Asked on Wednesday afternoon if the Vikings need to make any additional moves to get under the cap, coach Leslie Frazier said, "I don't think so. I think from everything I've been told, we're in pretty good shape."

Line games

A day after cutting McKinnie, Frazier said he has "penciled in" newly signed Charlie Johnson as the Vikings' starting left tackle.

That left the Vikings without an experienced backup capable of playing tackle, so they re-signed Ryan Cook, the confirmed late Wednesday night.

Cook, 28, has played in 70 games (40 starts) since the Vikings selected him in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft. He made one start at center last season and finished the season at right guard.

Harvin drops weight

Receiver Percy Harvin said he has dropped to about 198 pounds and plans to play around 195 -- 10 less than last season.

"I feel great, losing all the weight," Harvin said. "Just feeling out myself coming into my own in the NFL, just trying to figure out my own routines and stuff like that -- I feel the best I've felt in a long time, as far as running out there, being in shape."

Harvin declined to say whether the weight loss is related to dietary adjustments made to combat the migraine headaches that he says have disappeared since January. But if Harvin could battle through the headaches to post career highs in catches (71) and receiving yards (868) in his second season, what could a healthy Harvin do in Year 3?

"I'm going to make plays," Harvin said. "I'm going to make big plays. I'm going to make them all over the field, regardless where it's at. I don't know whether it's the third year, but any year, I plan to get on the field. I plan on being disruptive.

"This year, I'm feeling better. All the pieces kind of fell into place this year, so I am feeling a little juice in me this year."

Health watch

Backup linebacker and special teamer Kenny Onatolu has a stress fracture in his left foot and is day-to-day, Frazier said.

"We'll have to just see what happens," Frazier said. "Of course, you don't want him to completely break it."

Onatolu's injury was the first of training camp. He showed up to the morning practice in a walking boot and declined to discuss the injury afterward, other than saying he'll be back soon.

Safety Jamarca Sanford left practice briefly after a hard fall when he collided with Visanthe Shiancoe in coverage. But after a minute or so on the ground, Sanford jogged slowly off the field and returned for the next drill.

Quick hits

• HB Adrian Peterson became father to a baby boy on Monday night and should rejoin the team in time for Friday's practice," Frazier said. Peterson left practice on Monday afternoon when his fiancée went into labor and hasn't been back.

• Frazier said he remains hopeful that "something will happen here soon" in long-term contract negotiations with SLB Chad Greenway. "It doesn't seem that it's affecting him in any way," Frazier said of Greenway, who would play under the franchise tag for about $10.1 million this season if a deal can't be reached. "He's having a great two days of camp. So, things are moving right along."

• RE Jared Allen said he's not sure he'll bring back the famous mullet he cut off for his wedding last year, but he is growing out his hair. "I was watching 'The Bachelorette,' and my man Constantine had some killer curls," Allen said. "I'm trying to get that back."

• Harvin and halfback Lorenzo Booker both are likely to see action on kick returns this season, special teams coordinator Mike Priefer said. The punt return job, on the other hand, remains "wide open," Priefer said. Booker, Jaymar Johnson, Asher Allen and Marcus Sherels all took turns in practice on Wednesday.

• Owners Zygi and Mark Wilf made their debut on the sideline during practice, addressed players afterward and received a round of applause.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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