Notebook: WR Jarius Wright sits out second practice but says he's fine
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EDEN PRAIRIE, MINN. - Wide receiver Jarius Wright sat out the second practice of the Minnesota Vikings' rookie camp on Friday at Winter Park after being shaken up in the morning session.
Despite the fact players are not in pads and tackling isn't part of these practices, Wright ended up bumping his head on a play, according to coach Leslie Frazier. The fourth-round pick from Arkansas became ill after taking the shot.
"It's doing good," Wright said after the conclussion of the first day of practices. "No real problems with the head. I was feeling a little sick earlier so for precautionary reasons they didn't want me coming back out here and getting sick again."
Wright is expected to back up Percy Harvin as a slot receiver and also compete for the punt return job.
There are 71 players at the weekend camp, including 10 draft picks, 15 rookie free agents, seven players signed before the draft and 39 who were brought in on a tryout basis.
So what are the Vikings looking for from these players?
"A guy who can make plays," Frazier said. "You want to see somebody do something and make you say, 'Wow, that was pretty good.' We saw a couple instances of that this morning. Now we'll go back and look at the tape and just see how certain guys did on tape. But you're looking for somebody who will just grab your attention by making a play."
The new NFL
The Vikings are conducting offseason camps for the first time under the NFL's new collective bargaining agreement and that means things have changed as far as what coaches and players are allowed to do.
For instance, the new rules did not allow coaches to do any installation work with players the night before Friday's camp started. That was a change from previous years. Instead, the installation process had to take place on Friday morning.
That meant everything had to be done in quick fashion.
"We were able to install our offense, defense and what we wanted to get worked on in special teams," Frazier said, "and then you're trying to find out as a part of your evaluation process, how well they take notes and can come out on the football field in that short of span and execute some of the things you put in the meetings. ... We didn't have as many mental errors as we thought we might have."
After having the offseason wiped out a year ago by the lockout, Frazier is just happy to be able to work with players this spring.
"The coaches and I have talked about that repeatedly," Frazier said. "We were in meetings yesterday just going through some of the final touches for this camp that we're having and we just looked at one another, to be able to have this discussion and know it's going to happen, it's a big deal for us to be able to come on the field with so many players that we think are going to be able to help us and to spend time with them."
Ready to go
Wide receiver Greg Childs, a fourth-round pick from Arkansas who suffered a patella tendon injury in 2010, took part in Friday's practices and said he is 100 percent.
"There's a very big chip on my shoulder," said Childs, who admitted he attempted to return too quickly from the injury. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say it's not, because before I got hurt I was considered one of the top receivers. Since I got hurt, I may have not gone in the round I wanted to go in but I'm going to come out here give it my all."
A closer look
Fifteen to 20 veterans from the Vikings watched the morning practice Friday, including quarterback Christian Ponder. Ponder spent at least a half-hour talking with offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave as the rookies went through their workout.
"Some of (the veterans) asked about it," Frazier said. "They wanted to be able to come out and watch and we said, 'Come out and look. Just make sure you don't jump in a drill or pick up a dummy or anything like that.' It's good that they want to come out and watch. They're hungry to get out there as well.
"The participation we've had in the offseason program has been superb. The fact they want to come out here when they could leave and do other things on a Friday, that's a good sign."
The Kalil watch
Left tackle Matt Kalil, the fourth-overall pick in last weekend's draft who will step into a starting stop immediately, impressed Frazier with his work.
"The first thing that sticks out is his size," Frazier said of the 6-6, 308-pound rookie. "It's one thing to watch him on tape. But to actually stand beside him and being able to watch him against our other players here, you can see why we have high hopes for him. He was excellent today and his ability to be able to pick up information was encouraging as well."
In a flash
The Vikings drafted Central Florida cornerback Josh Robinson in the third round in large part because of his speed. Frazier got a firsthand look at that speed on Friday.
"I was watching the guys return punts this morning," Frazier said, "and we still have those cheat sheets with the guys numbers (on them). Josh caught a punt and he took off like a guy shot out of a rocket. I thought, 'Man, that guy has a nice little burst, let me see who that is.'
"It was Josh Robinson and I said, 'That's a good sign.' That burst, it sticks out. You can see why he ran a 4.2, 4.3 40(-yard dash) at the combine. He can get from A to B pretty quick. So that's encouraging."
The Vikings surprised many by taking Georgia kicker Blair Walsh in the sixth round.
After all, veteran Ryan Longwell signed a four-year, $12 million deal to remain in Minnesota before last season, getting a $3.5 million signing bonus.
Frazier said he does not know if the Vikings will keep two kickers - the possibility would be to start off Walsh as a kickoff specialist - and added that's "not in the game plan right now."
Asked about evaluating Walsh, Frazier said: "We are obviously going to take a close look at him. Obviously, when you draft a kicker you are drafting for a reason."
• Matt Singletary, the son of Vikings co-linebackers coach and assistant to the head coach Mike Singletary, is among those getting a tryout this weekend. Singletary completed his collegiate career at Cal-Poly, playing defensive end.
"We have him lined up at some linebacker and he has some traits of a Hall of Fame guy so we're going to see if we can get a little bit of that out of him," said Frazier, who is very good friends with Mike Singletary and has known Matt since he was born. "We're glad to have him here."
• Wide receiver Marcus Fitzgerald, whose brother Larry is a star with the Arizona Cardinals, is taking part in this camp with the Vikings.
• McLeod Bethel-Thompson, who received a $5,000 signing bonus on his reserve/futures deal in January, ran the first-team offense. Tryout QBs Blake Bolles (Northwest Missouri State) and Spencer Ohm (Concordia) ran the second and third string, respectively.
• CB Nick Taylor, the former college point guard who signed with the Vikings in March, intercepted a pass against Wright during a one-on-one drill in the morning session.
• The Vikings will have two more practices on Saturday and a final session Sunday.
Tom Pelissero and Nate Sandell contributed