Vikings Training Camp Battle Fronts

John David Booty (Andy King/AP)

The Vikings' biggest battles are at backup positions. We take a look at the main competitions and boil down nearly a week of practices.

BATTLE OF THE WEEK: Brooks Bollinger vs. John David Booty for the No. 3 quarterback job — The two were sharing snaps with the third team early in camp and will get limited opportunity to impress. Bollinger is a known commodity, but that might actually hurt him. The Vikings selected Booty in the fifth round of last April's draft and coach Brad Childress likes to have a developmental-type quarterback on his roster. Thursday night's practice against Kansas City could be a good opportunity to gain more insight into that battle.

OTHER BATTLE FRONTS: The competition for the nickel-back position will be intense with Charles Gordon, Marcus McCauley and Benny Sapp all vying for the job. Gordon finished last season in that role but he could be pushed by McCauley. ... The starting linebacker jobs are set with Chad Greenway, E.J. Henderson and Ben Leber returning. But the backup jobs aren't locked down. Free agent addition Derrick Pope would seem a good bet to win a job, in part because he can play on special teams. Heath Farwell and Vinny Ciurciu also have established themselves as top-notch special-teams players. Behind them the battle will include Rufus Alexander, Erin Henderson, David Herron and J. Leman.

ROOKIE REPORT: Second-round S Tyrell Johnson was working with the second team at safety. The Vikings coaches like Johnson's tackling ability and he likely will see plenty of time on special teams. ... Fifth-round QB John David Booty is battling Brooks Bollinger for the No. 3 job. Booty has some experience in the West Coast offense but admits he has plenty to learn. ... Fifth-round DT Letroy Guion will have to fight for a roster spot. The Vikings like his ability but Guion is very raw and might be a guy they try to sneak through to the practice squad. ... Sixth-round C John Sullivan is backing up veteran Matt Birk and also serving as the right guard on the third team. That versatility is extremely valuable and could win him a spot on the game-day roster this season. ... Sixth-round WR Jaymar Johnson made some impressive catches early in camp and also spent time auditioning for a role as a return man. ... Free-agent LB Erin Henderson, brother of Vikings starting middle LB E.J. Henderson, is attempting to win a roster spot at one of the Vikings' deepest positions.

INJURY REPORT: DE Ray Edwards opened camp on the physically-unable-to-perform list and started easing his way back onto the field Wednesday. WR Bobby Wade (knee), TE Garrett Mills (ankle) and DT Kenderick Allen (leg) have also missed time.

DT Pat Williams was held out of 11-on-11 work early in camp as a precaution after having offseason surgery on his left elbow. Williams said he was "day-to-day" and he has been taking part in more drills as camp progresses.

NOTES

  • WR Bernard Berrian, signed as a free agent from the Chicago Bears, is clearly adjusting to the Vikings' West Coast offense. Berrian had a few drops early in camp but he has also made several long receptions on passes from Tarvaris Jackson.

  • TE Thomas Tapeh, signed as a free agent from Philadelphia, showed he can catch the ball as well as block. On the first day of camp he caught a handful of passes in check-down situations.

  • The Vikings are looking at several players as potential kick returners. The list includes rookie WRs Jaymar Johnson, Darius Reynaud and Daniel Davis; RB Maurice Hicks; and WR Aundrae Allison. Allison won the job last season but Hicks, signed as a free agent from San Francisco, is the leading candidate to land the role.

  • Chase Johnson is working at left tackle on the second-team but Artis Hicks remains the primary backup to Bryant McKinnie at that spot. That's important because McKinnie could face disciplinary action from the NFL as a repeat offender of the league's personal-conduct policy. McKinnie was involved in a brawl outside a Miami nightclub last winter.

  • RB Adrian Peterson showed no rust early in camp, piling up several explosive runs early on. This included what would have been a sure long touchdown run after going up the middle and putting about three nice moves on unsuspecting members of the second-team defense on the first day of practice.

  • DE Jared Allen put a move on OT Bryant McKinnie in one-on-one drills during the first day of practice that left the big left tackle wondering what had happened. McKinnie rebounded to win the battle the very next time around.

  • The Vikings were wearing "throwback" helmets early in camp in order to break them in. They are replicas of the Vikings' 1970s-era helmets with a darker shade of purple and gray facemasks. The team wore their "throwback" uniforms once last season in a game and plan to do the same this year.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "I'm not good-looking, so they didn't bring me here to be the model of the franchise. They brought me here to produce and produce wins and to work with my teammates to make myself better and make them better. That is my role; my role is to win games." — DE Jared Allen, obtained from Kansas City in an offseason trade for a first-round pick and two third-rounders, on what his role will be with the Vikings.
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