Vikings OTAs: 7 Positions Up For Grabs
The Minnesota Vikings’ organized team activities, or OTAs, began Tuesday. OTAs are offseason training sessions run with the purpose of developing players; or, simply put, practices without tackling. There are no 1-on-1 drills, only team drills.
OTAs can be a good barometer of how the team’s roster is going to shape up come the regular season. Generally, the players who practice together play together. Certainly, there are exceptions.
Lets take a look at several key position battles that will unfold during the Vikings preseason.
Dalvin Cook and the RB situation
Peter King of Sports Illustrated said Tuesday Cook will be a top-five running back by Halloween. If that’s the case, it’ll be interesting to see how the Vikings split reps during OTAs and beyond between Cook and Jerrick McKninnon with Latavarius Murray recovering from ankle surgery. Will they bring Cook along slowly, or give him the keys to the Cadillac (or Ford Focus in my case) and let him drive?
Good to see Teddy back on the field today, dropping back and making throws. The question with Bridgewater is, will he be on the PUP list at the end of training camp? The more pressing question now is, who will win the backup job between Case Keenum and Taylor Heinecke? OTAs may provide a glimpse of who’s the favorite to win the job.
Who starts next to Linval Joseph?
Sharrif Floyd’s career is in jeopardy due to a nerve issue in his leg. Which player—or combination of players—will we see in Floyd’s absence? Shamar Stephen, Tom Johnson, Datone Jones, Jaleel Johnson, and Will Sutton are all candidates to fill Floyd’s role.
Who rounds out the last two receiver spots after Diggs, Thielen, Floyd and Treadwell? Jarius Wright, Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley, Isaac Fruechte, Mitch Matthews, Moritz Bohringer, and RJ Shelton are all competing for two jobs.
3rd linebacker position
Aside from sure starters Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, who replaces Chad Greenway as the third linebacker? Kentrell Brothers, Edmond Robinson, and Emmanuel Lamur are all experienced Vikings that could replace Greenway, either individually or in a rotation. Rookie Elijah Lee may contribute as well. The answer to this question may be answered as soon as this week.
Mackensie Alexander in slot/nickel role?
It was risky to not re-sign stable slot cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. Can Alexander, the Vikings’ 2016 second-round pick, replace Munnerlyn? Alexander will have a chance to prove he can handle the nickel role in Mike Zimmer’s defense. If he can’t, he risks losing playing time to veteran corner Terence Newman.
The Vikings turned the roster over at offensive line, which should actually benefit the unit’s depth. Riley Reiff, Alex Boone, Pat Elflein, Joe Berger and Mike Remmers are all starters when healthy and will make the squad.
However, players such as T.J. Clemmings, Rashod Hill, Zac Kerin, Jeremiah Sirles, Nick Easton, Danny Isidora, Aviante Collins, Freddie Tagaloa, Reid Fragel, Austin Shepherd and Willie Beavers are all fighting to make the team. The Vikings will likely roster 10 offensive linemen this season.
Who makes the team as backups? We’ll see who the Vikings line up in the trenches during OTAs.
According to Vikings.com, the 10 OTA practices are voluntary and lead up to a mandatory minicamp June 13-15. The team is scheduled to have OTA practices Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week.