With 2015 Verizon Vikings Training Camp winding down, Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune honed in on "a purple blur" of an equipment assistant who goes all out each day to help keep practices running smoothly.
Vensel wrote of 24-year-old Terrell Barnes:
*One moment he is backpedaling to make a one-handed catch with a sack of footballs slung over one shoulder. The next he is zipping out of the end zone to grab a ball from the punt returner before firing a 25-yard spiral down the field. *
*Blink and you might miss him, but he is sure to grab your attention again soon enough. *
Vensel noted that Barnes was asked to sign an autograph and pose in a selfie. A pedometer Barnes wore during practice measured that he was on the move for about 60 percent of the session and reached a top speed of 21.1 miles per hour when chasing down an errant pass.
*Barnes is beloved by Vikings players, too. They take notice of his attention to detail in the equipment room and his hustle in practice, whether he is scaling a tall chain-link fence like Spiderman to chase down a loose ball or climbing on top of a shed at Blakeslee Stadium to catch Blair Walsh's successful field-goal tries. *
"He does his job 100 percent every day. He gives his all," wide receiver Jarius Wright told Vensel. "You see him chasing punts down out here full speed, running around full speed, doing everything full speed. So that definitely makes you say, 'I can do my job full speed, too.' "
The Vikings hosting of the Buccaneers at 7 p.m. Saturday at the University of Minnesota could pit former college teammates Xavier Rhodes and Tampa Bay QB Jameis Winston against each other.
Rhodes told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that Winston's competitive nature stood out early.
"Anybody could say right now (they knew Winston was a future star), but you couldn't tell how good his outcome was," Rhodes told Tomasson. "But we all knew that he was a true competitor. He didn't like losing. In practice, he liked to try to beat the starters."
Rhodes was a rookie with the Vikings in 2013 when Winston led Florida State won the Heisman Trophy and led Florida State to the national title.
"I'm looking forward to playing against him," Rhodes said. "We played together in college, and I want to play against him on the opposite side of the ball. I'm looking forward to it."
Across the line
ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas, who covers the Bucs beat, said William Gholston is a player to keep an eye on Saturday:
He has played his entire career at defensive end, but the Bucs are experimenting with Gholston at tackle. He needs to step up his play because the Bucs are deep at defensive tackle with Gerald McCoy, Clinton McDonald, Henry Melton, Tony McDaniel and Akeem Spence.