Rotation was the plan for Saturday morning's minicamp practice.
The Vikings rotated where they were practicing, starting inside, moving outside for individual drills and then returning inside to beat the drizzle.
On the field, the rotation among the players was prevalent, the most notable being Jamarca Sanford
getting first-team reps alongside Madieu Williams
at safety. That knocked Tyrell Johnson
down to the second team, but the plan is to rotate those three and Husain Abdullah
in with the first-team defense and let them battle for position during minicamp and likely into training camp.
"We're going to let those guys fight for that starting position. Tyrell and Madieu are our guys, but there's competition. Abdullah is in that mix as well. He's fighting for playing time," defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier said. "Between the four of them, we'll see how things shake out."
Sanford started one game after Johnson suffered a concussion last year, but Johnson provided the only interception among the safeties in 2009.
"(Sanford is) one of those guys, like a lot of those second-year players, that has benefitted from the fact that he's been in the system for a year," Frazier said. "So he's moving a little faster, he's making decisions a little bit quicker and he's always been an aggressive guy, so now you combine that with the fact that he's a little bit more alert when it comes to some of the calls that are coming into the huddle, you've got a pretty good package. We'll just see how things play out."
But safety wasn't the only position that saw some changes in the starting rotation Saturday morning. Injuries caused a number of changes to be made, with LB Erin Henderson
taking Chad Greenway
's spot and Jasper Brinkley
continuing to take most of the first-team reps at middle linebacker while E.J. Henderson
progresses back from a fractured femur suffered in December.
Frazier didn't elaborate on Greenway's situation, but it's believed to be injury-related.
Rookie CB Chris Cook
was also held out of practice. With Cedric Griffin
only five months removed from a torn ACL, that opened up the opportunities for other cornerbacks opposite starter Antoine Winfield
and Asher Allen
got the majority of the work, but Benny Sapp
is another option there as well.
With Pat Williams
not taking part in most of the team drills, the defensive line also saw some adjustments. Fred Evans
and Jimmy Kennedy
rotated into that position.
The offensive line also had a bit of a new look because Steve Hutchinson
is still recovering from shoulder surgery and isn't taking part in the full-team drills. Ryan Cook
received the majority of the work at left guard, but rookie Chris DeGeare
also some limited action with the first-team offense.
Cook, a former starter at right tackle, has spent the majority of the offseason working at guard, but he also saw some action at center as well.
"Ryan Cook is kind of a lucky guy, in terms of he can play just about any position," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "He's played center. We're working him there a bunch. He started for us at tackle. He can play guard. And he can really play all the way across the board and that's a value person. … He can function well at any of them."
The Vikings are working through a number of injuries and adjusting with players not ready for full action following surgeries. That opened up the door for some backups to get action with the starters in Saturday's morning practice ... and one of those adjustments wasn't injury-related.
Injuries have opened up the door for some backups to get action with the starters.