Recap: Chiefs vs Vikings

As the Minnesota Vikings strolled onto Ramer Field for their annual scrimmage with the Kansas City Chiefs, one thing was missing – defensive end Jared Allen.

Early Thursday afternoon word started to spread that the Chiefs former All-Pro defensive end would not make the trip from Mankato to River Falls. That had many fans of both NFL teams not happy. Allen wasn't the only primetime player to skip the evening, as the Vikings left eight starters behinds.

It's a shame that Minnesota Head Coach Brad Childress decided to keep Allen behind because it might have been the highlight of an evening that was short on action. It wasn't anywhere near the fun it was in Mankato last year let alone in River Falls two years ago when fights broke out and helmets flew.

The Chiefs' mission was to get the young players who are going to be counted on this year a taste of what it's like to hit other players who aren't wearing the color red. That mission was accomplished.

Tonight we learned a few things about this Chiefs football team. Brodie Croyle was clearly the best quarterback on the field. Though he still forces passes at times, the strong-armed Croyle was on target most of the night. He doesn't even look like the same quarterback he was a year ago.

The same can't be said for his back-ups. Both Tyler Thigpen and Damon Huard struggled Thursday. Each threw a pair of interceptions and could never find much of a rhythm. That does not bode well if Croyle should go down with an injury. Right now, if I had to choose who might be the understudy, I'd give the nod to Thigpen.

Fortunately, running back Larry Johnson appears ready to deliver chunks of yards for this football team. He was approaching the scrimmage like a real game and wanted to be hit and hit people. When LJ is at his best he's physical. I'm sensing that he's fired up and ready to prove he can come all the way back from his injury.

On defense, you have to love the way cornerbacks Brandon Flowers and Brandon Carr are playing. I've talked about them so much already, but they are both going to be starting at some point this season. Flowers is a lock, but Carr isn't far behind, and with rookie safety DaJuan Morgan already pushing Bernard Pollard, Kansas City might field their youngest secondary ever.

Nick's Quick Hitters

WR Devard Darling - Impressed with his route running tonight. He looks like the guy who might end up as the team's number two receiver behind Dwayne Bowe. What I like about his game is the ability to get off the line of scrimmage and find the open seam. He did that several times against a decent Vikings secondary.

LT Branden Albert - He left the field after tweaking his ankle. The Chiefs can't afford to have this problem reoccur as it did in Mini-Camp. Part of the problem was that Ramer field is uneven and has a major slope that does not promote solid footing for 6-foot-5 guys that weigh over 300 pounds. Still, you have to be concerned that he's hurt his ankle twice in less than a couple months.

P Dustin Colquitt - I think he's punting the ball better than he did a year ago. He had a couple of boomer punts tonight that were both long in distance and un-catchable by the return men.

CB Maurice Leggett - He looked so solid in OTA's but is sliding down the depth chart. He was burned several times on longer throws Thursday, and the glimpses of potential I saw last month have disappeared.

OT Barry Richardson - The Clemson product saw more action tonight because Damion McIntosh was dinged up again – a recurring theme for his career. From what I saw, Richardson looked better than in previous sessions.

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