In many ways, Vikings’ rookie offensive lineman Adrian Battles was right at home in his first professional training camp practice Friday.
Battles, who practiced the last four years on the same fields as a member of the MSU football team, is pursuing his dream of playing in the NFL. After the opening session, Battles said things are going fine so far.
“It felt good to be back out there on those fields,” he said. “I didn’t have to worry about being in a strange environment.
“I had some high school friends and college friends out there cheering me on. My family came up today, too.”
Battles was a defensive lineman in college and is now trying to make the transition to the O-line with the Vikings.
“It’s new techniques, a new mind set from playing defense, but I think it’s going along OK. There’s always a temptation to want to use your hands like you do on defense, but I’m learning where I can put them and concentrating on my footwork and my leverage.”
Battles was one of just under 80 players who took the field Friday afternoon for the first official practice of the 2010 training camp.
Second-round draft pick Toby Gerhart signed a four-year contract on Friday, ensuring that all of the Vikings picks were in camp on time.
“For me, with school (finishing his senior year at Stanford), I missed quite a bit of the OTAs,” the running back said after Friday’s practice. “You don’t want to be back a step further, missing that first day of camp or something, so I was fortunate enough to get that deal done and get out here and do what I do and play football and have fun.”
Gerhart said Childress put on some pressure, sending him a text message on Thursday.
“I got a little text message, saying, ‘Get here, get your mind right,’ and that’s what I want to do — play football, help the team win and get a Super Bowl back here. That’s my goal, and that’s what I look forward doing.”
Childress wanted Gerhart in camp on time in order that no valuable practice time be missed. But it appears the coach expects Gerhart to fit right in.
“I think he had three practices with us in that minicamp before he want back to graduate,” Childress said. “The offenses couldn’t be any more similar. (Stanford coach) Jim Harbaugh’s version of it and ours, a lot of it has the same lingo. (Gerhart) obviously is a quick study.”
Rice, Griffin on PUP
Veteran cornerback Cedric Griffin (ACL) and Sidney Rice (hip) are starting training camp on the active physically unable to perform list. Griffin suffered his injury in the final playoff game of 2010 while Rice’s hip problem has been lingering since last season.
The active PUP means both players are eligible to come off the list at any time. Rice said Friday he will be ready for the start of the regular season.
Harvin on Favre
Second-year receiver Percy Harvin was asked about the Vikings quarterback situation but said he isn’t worried about the Brett Favre situation.
“We don’t deal with that; we only deal with the people that (are) here,” Harvin said. “We don’t control Brett; we only control the quarterbacks that are here and working with us. ... We’d love to have (Favre) if he comes back. If not, we’re working with Tarvaris (Jackson) and Sage (Rosenfels) and the guys that are here right now.”
Harvin was the NFL’s offensive rookie of the year last season, catching 60 passes for 790 yards. Most of those catches came with Favre leading the offense.
For post-practice updates and observations from The Free Press sports staff, go to our Vikings Training Camp blog at freepresstrainingcamp.blogspot.com.