As the Minnesota Vikings strolled onto Ramer Field for their annual scrimmage with the Kansas City…
River Falls Recap: Thursday, 7/31 PM Practice
Hundreds of fans from Minnesota made the trip east to River Falls this evening. Vikings faithful are obviously enamored with their new defensive end but were likely disappointed as Jared Allen didn't even make the trip with the rest of his teammates.
Left tackle Branden Albert had his right ankle stepped on Thursday night and immediately exited. He did not return. Second-team left tackle Herb Taylor replaced Albert for the remainder of the evening. Defensive tackle T.J. Jackson was also injured tonight.
For whatever reason, KC's offense looked reluctant to throw the ball down the field against the Vikings in 11-on-11 drills. It may have had something to do with the fact that the second-team offensive tackles, Herb Taylor and Barry Richardson, played significant snaps with the starters.
Tyler Thigpen is aggressive with the football. Sometimes it gets him in trouble, as evidenced by his numerous interceptions recently, but he's far more reluctant to simply dump the ball short, particularly in 7-on-7 drills.
It was a year ago when the Chiefs' first-team offense was almost completely dominated by the Vikings' defensive front in a scrimmage. Kansas City was unable to run the ball in that first meeting with another team, a sign of things to come. Tonight, KC's run offense wasn't spectacular, but holes were opened and significant yards were gained. Don't read too much into it – the Vikings didn't have a single starter working on the defensive line tonight – but it's important that the Chiefs found rushing success against another team after they struggled to run all last year.
The Chiefs started Pat Thomas at middle linebacker for the third straight day.
PLAYS OF THE DAY
Dwayne Bowe got a clean release off the line of scrimmage before slashing into a gaping hole in the middle of Minnesota's defense. Bowe's route was run so well, Tyler Thigpen had an enormous space to throw the ball into. The play resulted in a 20-yard completion.
Everyone is excited about Will Franklin because of his 4.37 40-yard dash time, but tonight he showed toughness and run-after-catch skills down by the goal line. In 11-on-11's, Franklin ran a short curl route and turned around to present himself to quarterback Brodie Croyle, who thumped the ball right into his chest. Franklin did a little shimmy to escape one defender and dove into the end zone for a touchdown.
Big ups to the kid in the Adrian Peterson jersey who threw a dropped pen back up the stadium bleachers to a notable member of the Kansas City media tonight. It was a hell of a throw, covering at least 50 feet, and how was the guy supposed to write without a pen? Kid, you're a hero.
Minnesota's defensive backs could not contain Dwayne Bowe tonight, at least early. In a span of just nine snaps during 7-on-7 drills, Bowe hauled in five catches, highlighted by his grab over the middle of the field. Kansas City's quarterbacks didn't throw any particularly amazing passes, Bowe was simply bigger and more physical than any Vikings defensive back, and his route running was splendid.
Larry Johnson looks like he's got plenty of gas left in the tank. When the Chiefs opened a hole tonight, 27 was through it like a rocket. On the first play of 9-on-9 drills, LJ zipped off left tackle for a big gain down the sideline. Later, on a toss left, Johnson cut back to his right, thundered past the line of scrimmage and ran over a linebacker. Towards the end of practice, Johnson delivered a haymaker of a stiff arm to a Vikings defensive back. Check out Pat Clifton's recap for more on the return of "The Centaur."
According to my notes, Brodie Croyle literally completed every pass he attempted tonight. Now, I only saw Croyle attempt seven passes, and most came in a 7-on-7 drill. But Croyle was accurate, used audibles effectively, and was probably the best quarterback on the field tonight. Nothing he threw up came close to being intercepted. Considering how awful Croyle was the last time he practiced, it was hard to find fault with his performance tonight.
There's no question now – the Chiefs absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of a doubt, need to find another backup quarterback. Tyler Thigpen and Damon Huard both threw interceptions tonight, and in fact Huard almost threw picks on back to back plays. I'll give Thigpen credit for being aggressive with the ball at times, but Huard seems completely happy to check the ball down to fullbacks until the end of time, at least when he's not scrambling between trash-can offensive linemen during 7-on-7 drills. Thigpen, by the way, can't seem to take a snap without falling down occasionally.
Rashad Barksdale only showed up once on my radar tonight. He was chasing an unidentified Vikings receiver down the right sideline as a perfect pass sailed over his head for the longest play of the night. It was only one play, but on the biggest night of camp so far, that's not how you want to be singled out.
Speaking of being singled out, I feel sorry for Bernard Pollard. On one play tonight, his facemask was practically touching Adrian Peterson's. Now, Peterson makes plenty of defenders look silly, but the move he put on Pollard was out of this world. It was almost like Pollard was turned to stone. To be fair, I'm pretty sure I saw AP run right past Jarrad Page a few seconds later.
Trevor Johnson, Brian Johnston, Kevin Robinson and Tamba Hali sat out tonight's practice.
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