The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Chad Courrier

August 9, 2012

Courrier: This summer, it’s good to be Vikings’ Webb, Kalil

— It’s good to be any NFL player, especially on payday.

But during this Minnesota Vikings training camp, it’s better to be some players than others.

It’s good to be Joe Webb.

As Christian Ponder struggles, fans predictably clamor for the backup, which is Webb.

Webb hasn’t done anything in this camp to suggest that he should be the starter. His biggest moments as an NFL starter have come when he enters games after the No. 1 quarterback is injured or ineffective.

Yet you still hear fans suggest that he should be the guy ... until he becomes the guy.

It’s good to be Matt Kalil.

The No. 1 draft choice fills a position of need and importance, and through the first week of contact, he’s more than held his own against Jared Allen, one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers. That’s not to suggest that Kalil has been flawless, but if he were getting beaten up daily, there would be plenty of second-guessing and concern.

As it is, fans have responded favorably to Kalil.

It’s good to be Kyle Rudolph.

With Visanthe Shiancoe gone, Jim Kleinsasser retired and John Carlson injured, Rudolph is the clear leader of the tight ends, which might sound like a glamorous title. But after watching this offense for the last two weeks, it’s clear that short passes to Rudolph are a large portion of the playbook.

If he stays healthy, which is a big if, Rudolph will put up some big numbers as long as Ponder is the quarterback.

It’s good to be Chris Kluwe.

The punter already has seven years of the NFL, and he has no competition at training camp. He has earned that right by being pretty darn good in his time with the Vikings.

Each day, he puts on the helmet and pads and walks onto the practice field, just like every other player. At the end of practice, he walks off, not a bead of sweat dripping from his forehead or huffing and puffing from the intense workout. He hasn’t been tackled or blocked.

It’s good to be Jerome Simpson, other than the upcoming three-game suspension.

Other than Percy Harvin, this is the most anonymous group of receivers ever. There are few teams where Simpson could have gone and stood out as much as he does with the Vikings. He clearly has some skills, and the fan base will be eagerly awaiting his return in Week 4.

OK, maybe it’s not so good to be Greg Childs, who just had surgery to repair both patellar tendons that could end his NFL career before it started, but you get the picture.

Chad Courrier is a Free Press staff writer. To contact him, call 507-344-6353, e-mail at ccourrier@mankatofreepress.com, check out his local sports blog or follow his Twitter feed @ChadCourrier.

 

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