Minnesota Vikings: 5 Players Whose Stock Is on the Rise During OTAs
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There haven't been any major headlines from OTAs, but there have been fun factoids coming from Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minn.
This slideshow will look at some of them as they apply to five players who are benefiting from the offseason training activities.
That could be because of their on-field performances, mental approach or anything that puts them in a better position to make an impact in 2013 or to be successful.
Wide Receiver Joe Webb
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Joe Webb began his transition from quarterback to wide receiver during these OTAs.
As with all transitions, there have been some bumps in the road. But Webb has received praise for his hands and ability to catch anything thrown his way. After all, the wide receiver position isn't new to him. He played it some in college and started there at OTAs in his rookie season, but was sent back to quarterback shortly thereafter.
Being able to catch the ball seems simple, but Minnesotans have seen how drops can plague the career of a talented, athletic receiver (Troy Williamson).
Where Webb hasn't been stellar has been on the route running. Greg Jennings told Brian Hall of Fox Sports North that wasn't a big deal.
"When a receiver can catch, you can work with everything else. If you can catch the ball, I can work with any and everything else," Jennings said. "If you can't catch the ball, then we really have no ground to start from. We have no foundation to start from."
Being a former quarterback should help expedite his transition. He already has an idea of what the quarterback expects of his receivers, which should put him in a better position to succeed.
Wide Receiver Cordarrelle Patterson
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Cordarrelle Patterson has people very excited about the future of Minnesota's wide receiver corps. And he should.
He has the speed (4.42 40-yard dash), size (6'2", 216 lbs) and athleticism to become a dangerous playmaker. No one has ever questioned his physical tools.
Experience and above-the-shoulder knowledge have been his biggest question marks. OTAs are helping ease the size of the question mark for the latter.
Patterson has reportedly been acting like a sponge at OTAs. Whether it's seven-year veteran Greg Jennings or receivers coach George Stewart, Patterson has actively sought the wisdom of those who have information to share.
"He’s learning football as expected. He’s not a guy that you look at that’s behind on things," receivers coach George Stewart told the Star Tribune's Dan Wiederer. "He’s sharp. He always comes and talks through things. ... He always comes to my ear and asks questions. He’s very inquisitive, which I like. He’s picking up things extremely well.”
If he continues to seek and implement the advice of coaches and the vets around him, then he'll be well on his way to making his way in the league.
Cornerback Chris Cook
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The reason for Chris Cook's presence here has little to do with his on-field performance at OTAs but for his mentality.
Cook is entering a pivotal year not only for his individual career (last year of rookie contract), but also for his role within the defense.
Veteran cornerback Antoine Winfield is gone. Last year's middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley is gone, too.
There's a void for leadership in the back seven. And Cook could be a guy to ease the loss.
Early in the OTA process, Cook told 1500 ESPN he would tell first-round pick Xavier Rhodes not to worry about covering the top receivers. He, Cook, would cover them.
Now, he said that with a laugh.
But somewhere inside he knows he has to do that this season. He was in charge of covering the No. 1 wideouts last season. But it's more important he successfully cover them this season with the back seven's losses.
Cook's always had the physical tools to be a stellar cornerback. Now it's time for him to stay on the field and mentor Rhodes in his on-field development, something he says he's ready to do.
"Just lead by example," Cook told Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press. "Show guys how to practice. Show them how to study, what's expected of you, especially for Xavier, a guy coming in as a first-rounder. Sometimes it can do something to your character. But he's a well-grounded guy. I feel like my job is to keep him that way."
Defensive Tackle Fred Evans
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Letroy Guion was the starting defensive tackle alongside Kevin Williams last season.
But in OTAs that hasn't been a given.
Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN reported Fred Evans, not Guion, has taken more of the reps with the first-team defense during OTAs.
It's still very early in the process of figuring out the depth chart. But the reps he's taking from Guion demonstrate that the coaching staff has questions about Guion's ability to be the guy, in addition to affirming Evans could be in for a bigger role in 2013.
Evans is far from a spring chicken (29 years old, seven-year vet). It's not like he's on the verge of some big breakout. But neither is Guion (four-year vet, 25 years old, 2008 fifth-round pick).
The battle is something to keep an eye on.
And don't forget about Sharrif Floyd, who may not play a major role early but should at some point this season.
Middle Linebacker Erin Henderson
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While the Vikings were at OTAs, the Brian Urlacher rumors died with his retirement, and Erin Henderson has taken all of the reps with the first-team defense.
Coach Leslie Frazier hasn't dubbed Erin Henderson the starter. He says Audie Cole and Michael Mauti will have an opportunity to compete for the spot.
But as the Star Tribune's Dan Wiederer points out, Frazier has "established that Henderson figures to take all the middle linebacker reps with the starting defense throughout the offseason. So read between the lines as you see fit."
The stars are aligning for Henderson to be the guy inside for the defense. And at this point, it would take unforeseen circumstances for that to change.