Minnesota was sooooo yesterday. I’m actually in New Orleans now, gearing up to go to Saints OTAs in a little bit. But before I do, let’s get reflect on what we saw in Eden Prairie during Vikings OTAs (which I talked about on TV here).
— The biggest thing that happened was that rehabbing Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin ran up a hill. And I’m not lying, it was one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Two electric athletes, both fighting their way back to health, just absolutely going after it. They were racing. Harvin won almost all of them, but Peterson did get him twice — ACL tear and all.
“It was a bit tough,” Harvin said. “Just glad to get back out here and get the legs back under you, things like that. That hill is definitely a good thing for us right now. He might’ve got me twice. We was racing the whole time. I’m out here just to push AP. He’s a very important part of this team. We need him out here. So the quicker we get him back out here, the better.”
Guys were trying to pay attention to practice. They really were. But the battle on the hill took all attention away from it.
“I think it’s important that they’re here and be able to see them working together,” QB Christian Ponder said. “We saw them running hills while we were practicing and it’s great to see. Obviously, we know that they have been putting in the work when they haven’t been here but for them to be here and to see that, it means a lot of us guys. I think it’s important.”
— It also stood out just how tough Harvin and Peterson are. Harvin is recovering from shoulder surgery, but he disclosed that he actually hurt it in Week 6. That meant he played with his injury for months. Beastly. As Harvin said, “I didn’t really know to the extent it was hurt until I started lifting again and I felt it.”
As for Peterson, he just amazes people. It’s tough to put into words. “He’s amazing,” Harvin said. “I told him the other day I don’t think he’s human. Two weeks ago he beat a couple guys in a race. When I got here yesterday, I told them guys they should be embarrassed.”
— Jerome Simpson was a real steal for the Vikings, and he may be even more than that. The super athletic receiver is making eyes pop in Minnesota. When I talked to Ponder after practice, he raved about Simpson. He wasn’t alone. As GM Rick Spielman told me, “Jerome Simpson (has) been outstanding since he’s been here, and you can see that he’s at a different speed.”
“Jerome was running a dig, which is 20-yard in-route and the cushion was unbelievable because everyone’s afraid he’s going to run right by them he’s so fast,” Ponder told me. “That just adds a whole other dimension to our offense.”
— The Vikings took a chance keep CB Chris Cook, and it may be paying off. Cook, who was recently acquitted of assaulting his girlfriend, has been the recipient of solid feedback. Coach Leslie Frazier said, “We’re just glad to have him back on our team. Looking forward to watching him progress. I don’t know what the validation would be other than he has to come out there and work as hard as he can like everyone else to earn a spot.” Spielman told me he’s pleased with “how he’s working.”
— The goal is to have Peterson ready for opening day. But if he’s not, there’s no debate. Toby Gerhart would be the starter. Frazier said as much yesterday.
“We’re not shaking in our boots afraid if Toby has to start for us against Jacksonville,” Frazier said. “We know he’s more than capable, we just have to make sure we have some quality depth at that position but we’re all optimistic that Adrian is going to make it back. Toby would be, as we speak today, our starting tailback if Adrian were not able to go for some reason. We have confidence that Toby would be able to carry the load.”