MANKATO (AP) -- Quarterback Billy Cockerham is doing things at training camp that he hasn't done for years.
He's returning kickoffs, something he last did as a junior in high school.
He's playing other units of the special teams, which he hasn't done since before enrolling at the University of Minnesota.
The former Gophers star quarterback is even studying the defensive backs. He was a highly recruited defensive back coming out of Oakland's Skyline High School, and that may be where his professional future is.
But what he's doing most at the Minnesota Vikings' training camp is watching and waiting.
And that's a big change for the two-year starter just eight months removed from leading the Gophers to the Sun Bowl.
Cockerham is looking up at Daunte Culpepper, Bubby Brister and Todd Bouman on the depth chart.
For most of practice, Cockerham watches others go about their business, hoping to get a chance and planning to make the most of it when he does.
"It's like starting over again, like being a freshman," Cockerham said during a break from practice Monday. "I just have to be patient."
Coach Dennis Green is leery of giving four quarterbacks work at training camp and in preseason games.
"We tried that last year, and it doesn't work," Green said. "But he is learning the system. As far as him seeing any time during the preseason, we'll just have to see."
Cockerham did get a couple of series in the training camp scrimmage, completing 1 of 3 passes for 5 yards. In the first preseason game, Cockerham returned a kickoff for 17 yards.
"It doesn't matter where I play," he said. "I'm trying to find a role and make the team."
So, during one practice, Cockerham will be throwing passes. Then, he'll work on the special teams drills.
"You have to be ready for anything," he said. "Special teams are a big part of the game; people don't realize how big it is. This organization really stresses special teams."
On Monday, Cockerham survived as 11 teammates were released. He said he doesn't spend much time thinking about getting cut, but it was a relief to be on the field Monday.
"There's no shame, if you go out and give 100 percent and you get released," he said. "You can look yourself in the mirror and say you did your best."
Right now that's been good enough, though he has two more cut dates coming up.
"Billy just has to be patient," Green said. "He's a good, young guy, and he's athletic."
Notes: The Vikings trimmed the roster to 70 players on Monday, releasing safeties Anthony Bass and Anthony Marshall, cornerback Carl Kidd, wide receiver Jermaine Sheffield, running back Marvin Welch, linebackers Keith McCullar and Mike Parker, defensive lineman Tim Engelhart, offensive lineman Seth Dittman, long-snapper Brody Heffner-Liddiard and punter Eddie Howard. Green said he expects to bring a few players in this week for tryouts as he tries to bolster the special teams. The roster must be cut to 65 by Aug. 22. ... Linebacker Dwayne Rudd was back at practice, with his sprained right wrist heavily taped. Rudd missed Saturday's game at San Diego. Rudd's backup, Craig Sauer, was still sidelined with a foot injury. ... Left guard Corbin Lacina, who missed the game Saturday night after dislocating his left shoulder in practice last week, returned to drills. ... Punter Mitch Berger took part in the full practice, kicking several long, high spirals. Berger bruised his kicking leg in the preseason opener against New Orleans and sat out against the Chargers.
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