Friday, July 25, 2008

Training Camp!

It's finally here! Which means...

Well, not much actually. It means another few weeks of reports like "Adrian Peterson is running hard" and "Tarvaris Jackson is making all the throws" that are essentially meaningless. Real news only comes out of training camp when there's a position battle or if someone gets hurt. Pretty much all the Vikings' starters have already been determined, and we hope nobody gets hurt, so there shouldn't be much to report the next few weeks. With the first preseason game (Aug. 8 vs. Seattle) a tantalizingly close two weeks away and the team's sole nationally televised preseason game (Aug. 23 against Pittsburgh) less than a month away, the only drama is really whether everyone will stay healthy and whether they Vikings will wear those awful purple pants:

or, even worse, the purple-on-purple combo:

in any of their preseason games.

(OK, so maybe that's not the only drama, but I refuse to talk any more about you-know-who until something actually happens, good or bad.)

Even so, the Star Tribune posted a list of five things to watch for in Training Camp, most of which, again, are impossible to gauge until the games are for real. I suppose the question of Bryant McKinnie's availability, pending a possible league suspension, is news, but again, that's been lingering for months now with no obvious end in sight. And hey, look at #4, where they wonder if Visanthe Shiancoe has improved because he's catching passes in workouts.

Here's my take: If you're an NFL receiver, you should catch 99.9% of balls thrown at you during drills and camp. That's because the quarterback isn't under any pressure and you can run your route at your leisure. But actual catching ability is a small part of a receiver's skill set. When the QB has to aim an off-balance throw your way and the DB/LB is jamming you at the line and you have to make a precise cut with no room for error, that's when it's time to see if you're actually a good receiver.

That said, Troy Williamson is "looking good" in Jaguars camp. No, I didn't read that anywhere, but I know every writer covering the Jags has written it at least once this off-season.

Well, I've managed to stretch a post about, essentially, nothing into nearly 400 words, which means I could have been a writer for Seinfeld. I'll try to come up with something more interesting next week. Have a great weekend, and keep your fingers crossed about the purple pants!

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