We’re back!! After a day off, the Vikings hit the practice field for what was supposed to be a padded practice. Unfortunately that didn’t happen due to a NFL rule clarification. But don’t worry, they’ll put on the pads today for a fun time! If you’re new here, 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.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette– Shame on me for not putting Ihmir-Smith Marsette in the ‘Who to Watch’ category in previous stock reports. We’ve been hearing his name throughout camp thus far, but on Monday we really heard it louder. It’s early in camp, and it’s easy to overreact to players in shorts, but between the emergence of ISM and KJ Osborn, plus the addition of Dede Westbrook, the Vikings might truly have some depth at the WR position. Smith-Marsette had a fabulous day at camp on Monday showcasing his speed, his nifty route running and his hands. It’s a lot easier to shine bright at a skill position, but that doesn’t take away that Smith-Marsette has been turning some heads. With the loss of Bisi Johnson for the year due to a torn ACL, Smith-Marsette has a legit chance for playing time if he can continue to build off an impressive start to camp.
Harrison Smith- Yeah, if you’re seeing his name and wondering why he’s a trending up player for me, I’m utilizing this time to just remind fans how good he really is. Last season Smith spent most of the year trying to cover up the weaknesses of a putrid defense and super young secondary, but that still doesn’t mean he wasn’t good. Throughout camp, and much of his career, he’s been a staple in the Vikings Defense and someone we can always rely on. The inevitable ‘Father Time’ will catch up with Smith eventually, but for now he still acts like the spry, punky kid out of Notre Dame and he’s bringing that swagger to every practice this camp.
Dru Samia- I hate typing this for a few different reasons, but I just really hate subjecting players to this Trending Down section, especially fresh off a season where many fans were already upset with them, but here we are. Fellow beat writer Sean Borman (Editor and Writer for Vikings Territory), brought up that he thought Samia played well at Saturday’s night practice. But on Monday, that was a different story. The whole OL looked rough, and new OL Coach Phil Rauscher could be heard screaming for miles. There are plenty of reps to go around right now for this team on the OL, and Samia got a good chunk Monday, unfortunately they weren’t the reps you hope for.
The Vikings Defense– Individually there are some players that are playing really well, but as a unit it was a rough day of practice according to Head Coach Mike Zimmer. Hopefully today when the pads get put on, all players can dial in and clean up some of the messes from yesterday.
Who To Watch🔎🔎🔎
Kene Nwangwu- Buried on the depth chart in a deep RB room, Kene Nwangwu has consistently been showcasing his speed throughout camp. He’s competing for the RB3 position and Kick Return role on the Vikings this camp, and every time he has touched the ball he has showed that burst and speed that he displayed in college. His real path to the field is at Kick Returner, but if he keeps this up maybe we could see him in a wildcat role.
DJ Wonnum- This one is purely a speculative add here and someone to keep an eye on. Zimmer is using Wonnum this camp as a toy, for lack of a better word. Throughout the start of camp Zimmer has moved Wonnum around and even recently we saw Wonnum lined up as the off ball linebacker alongside Barr and Kendricks. This is something to watch as Zimmer works creatively to disguise his looks, and if he can have Wonnum out there only to drop him into coverage to confuse opposing offenses, then I’m all for it.