This year at Climbing The Pocket, we are going to do our best to report back daily with a Vikings Training Camp Stock Report. Essentially, relaying the information we hear and see from our fellow Vikings beat writers about who is trending up or down at Training Camp, and who we should be watching for in the coming days. So buckle up and let’s get going!
Trending Up 📈📈📈
Justin Jefferson– Yes, you read that correctly. JJ is on the rise!! When a seasoned All-Pro like Patrick Peterson mentions him by name and that he is making all the routes look the same, you take notice. P2 claims JJ looks like a “Savvy Vet”, and “He’s a pro”. Praise like that, especially for a wide receiver as young as JJ, means a lot. The sky’s the limit for JJ.
Danielle Hunter- Big surprise right? But it shouldn’t be. Neck injuries are serious, and Hunter is coming off a season ending injury in 2020. That’s a major concern for a lot of people moving forward, and likely drove the resolution on his contract status heading into the 2021 season. The Vikings are cautious. There are no indications however that his 2020 injury has slowed Hunter down one bit. Stalwart right tackle Brian O’Neill was even impressed, not knowing what a move was when he snuck past him to ‘sack’ QB Kirk Cousins.
Dakota Dozier– Oli Udoh has been taking first team right guard reps, and with Ezra Cleveland seated comfortably at left guard, Dozier might finally be on the way out of the starting lineup. Dozier was one of the worst ranked guards in the NFL last season, so his falling should be a delight to Vikings faithful as they look to revamp and improve.
Kirk Cousins’ Image?- Cousins was picked off late in practice in a drill where the offense only had two plays to score (see video clip below). Harrison Smith snagged the ball in traffic in the corner of the endzone. Cousins slammed his helmet in frustration. It’s unusual to see this kind of frustration from the usually steady QB, but we shouldn’t read much into it. The defensive backfield is full of new and improved players, and Harrison Smith can give even the most seasoned passers some trouble.
Who To Watch🔎🔎🔎
Christian Darrisaw- A trending down candidate yesterday mainly because Darrisaw has yet to see first team reps, while Rashod Hill is currently slotted with the first team at left tackle. But there are still high hopes for Darrisaw, and it will be a battle that likely runs into the season. If you can recall, Brian O’Neill was the backup right tackle for the start of his rookie season until a few injuries early in the season forced him on the field, to a position he never let go of. Rashod Hill, if he gets dinged up, could once again be replaced by a rookie in season.
The Secondary– There’s no doubt about it – the Vikings defense in 2020 was bad. The worst of Zimmer’s career by several indicators. This offseason through free agency the Vikings added Xavier Woods, Patrick Peterson, Bashaud Breeland, and welcomed back Mackensie Alexander. There’s no shortage of talent with returning players in Harrison Smith, Cameron Danztler, and Jeff Gladney (pending legal issues) either. How this group gels together, and how quickly, will have a big impact on the season. The good news is they get to test themselves against top RB Dalvin Cook, and top wide receivers like Adam Thielen & Justin Jeffereson. The Vikings will go as the secondary goes, so watch this group closely. They can make or break games with their play, and for the Vikings to make a run at a SB, they’ll need solid play from this group.
If you missed yesterday’s Stock Report be sure to check it out here!