May 1, 2005
Mini Camp Report VIII: Defensive Back

On 2005 roster at present (Bold indicates projected starter)

21: Corey Chavous; S; 8th season
22: Ken Irvin; CB; 11th season
24: Willie Offord; S; 4th season
25: Will Hunter; S; 1st season
26: Antoine Winfield; CB; 7th season
27: Fred Smoot; CB; 5th season

28: Laroni Gallishaw: CB; R
29: Brian Williams; CB; 4th season
31: Rushen Jones; S; 3rd season
33: Ralph Brown; CB; 5th season
36: Dovonte Edwards; CB; R
37: Dustin Fox; S; R
39: Brandon Pinderhughes; CB; 1st season
42: Darren Sharper; S; 9th season
47: Adrian Ward; CB; R

Note: I'd like to take a little roll call and ask a question of the readers. If you haven't already done so, by using the Comment link at the end of this blog entry, leave what city and state you are from. I'd sure love to know if there are Vikings fans in all 50 states. And leave your country if you are outside of America. Also, would you like to see me change the site to a white background with dark purple font...or leave it the way it is. Thanks for your time!

And on the seventh day, God created Fred Smoot.

Let's give a loud (loud because that's what Fred would want) welcome to the newest cornerback for the soon-to-be-Super-Bowl-champion Minnesota Vikings! Mr. Fred Smoot. Always talking and always smiling. You cannot help but love this guy.

Smoot runs so easily. And he lets you know he has a lot of heart.

Antoine Winfield and Smoot seemed to have already hit it off. They were regular dance partners in a series of positioning drills early on in practice. The quick Smoot found it hard to get by the more physical Winfield. Smoot tried and tried and tried but Winfield would have none of it.

It's plain to see when looking at Smoot that he will be the main cover guy and Winfield will be there for run support. Freddy ain't built for tackling. But then Winfield wasn't a bad shut-down corner last year either!

What a dilemma! Which of our potential Pro-Bowl corners is the shut-down guy? Who gets the opposing teams #1 WR? You know what? It doesn't matter. 'Cause Smoot and Winfield can BOTH shut anyone down.

And it's been a long time coming since I was able to say that about two Vikings CB's on the team at the same time.

The DB's did a lot of foot and hand drills. And they were right up in the face of the receiver. Breathing on them, face-masks almost touching. Again, something that we haven't seen for a long time....a challenging cornerback at the line of scrimmage.

And I especially like the way the CB's were using hand-checks this year as opposed to previous years.

In reading some of the other reports from the local rags, they made it sound like Winfield was just standing around the whole day. As you've seen here, that was not the case. Winfield was actively involved in all the drills, only sitting out the little scrimmage at the end.

Unlike the running backs that I spoke of earlier, the defensive backfield was having a grand ol' day. They were all smiles and constantly encouraging one another.

Smoot could also be seen playing teacher, often grabbing the rookies and bringing them into proper position.

And by now, I'm sure you have heard and read about Smoot, shall we say, delivering a sermon from the sidelines? Yes, Smoot did talk a lot. But you know what? So did Culpepper. So did Winfield. So did a lot of players.

This team has some serious attitude this year. A big ol' chip on their collective shoulders. Maybe it's because they are sick of answering questions about Moss. Maybe they just want to go out and prove they can win without the most prolific TD maker in NFL history.

The talking did not bother me in the least. It did not interfere with the drills or scrimmage. It gave me a "look out NFC 'cause the Vikes are going to be in your face" type of feeling. And I liked that edgeness. I think you will too.

The elder statesmen of the backfield also seemed to be quite chummy with each other. Yes, isn't it strange to see this guy dressed in purple?

And I tell you what, and I mean this in a very good way....Sharper had this pissed-off serious type of look on his face the whole practice. Like he has something to prove to some team east of the Twin Cities. Maybe even to someone sitting home on the front porch swing outside his shack in the middle of Mississippi.

That's not to say Sharper didn't smile. Yeah, he broke a smile after practice when addressing the media. But then that turned to this when asked about playing Green Bay. And when asked about #4 he just looked like this. Just stood there like that. Not...saying....a....word.

Yeah baby.

The other half of the middle of the defensive backfield, Corey Chavous, seemed to be in better physical shape than last year. Maybe Chavous came in more determined once he got wind of all the trade rumors..being the NFL draft guru he is.

And there you have it. Your defensive backfield for the coming season. And doesn't it make you sleep better knowing these two are your starting cornerbacks this coming season!!?!?!!

Our maybe is it that after reading this you can't sleep?

Other Photos

Corey Chavous

Darren Sharper with Sam Cowart

Darren Sharper behind the LBs

Smoot! I sure hope that isn't toilet paper!

Sharper in a drill.

Winfield and Smoot in positioning drills.

Winfield

Winfield, Offord, Smoot

Winfield and Smoot go toe-to-toe

Willie Offord and Dustin Fox

Sharper with Tice lurking in the background.

Even standing still, Smoot looks fast!

Smoot

Sharper takes a Gatorade break.

Smoot chases after a small rodent that hasn't gotten an earful of his banter yet...the only thing on the field that hadn't up to that time.

Sharper meets the media.

Sharper did smile...after practice!

Up next: Wide Receiver! (Projected to be up Sunday)

Previous: Offensive Line & Tight End, Kicker & Special Teams, Running Back, Linebacker, Quarterback, Defensive Line, and Initial Report (just scroll down)

And be sure to leave a COMMENT below if you have a specific question you would like to ask me and I'll reply using the COMMENTS field.

And if you want to use a photo on your own personal site...I simply ask that you credit me and my Vikings Underground web blog.

Posted by maasx003 at May 1, 2005 9:07 PM