Image courtesy of Vikings.com
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Vikings Training Camp Preview

In just 11 days, the Minnesota Vikings open training camp on the Minnesota State, Mankato campus. Rookie practices begin on Monday, July 24th and full team practices start Thursday, July 27th.

As usual, this time of year has brought optimism to the Vikings and their fans. But this year, things seem different. There’s good reason to be excited, as the offseason resulted in refreshing roster replacements, an influx of young talent, and a promising outlook on lovable quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

To recap the offseason moves, Minnesota added free agents Latavius Murray, Riley Reiff, Datone Jones, Michael Floyd, and Mike Remmers.

WAVE OF YOUNG TALENT

The team also drafted eleven players; Dalvin Cook, Pat Elflein, Jaleel Johnson, Ben Gedeon, Rodney Adams, Danny Isidora, Bucky Hodges, Stacy Coley, Ifeadi Odenigbo, Elijah Lee and Jack Tocho.

Several familiar veterans departed, including Adrian Peterson, Captain Munnerlyn, Matt Kalil, Cordarrelle Patterson, Jeff Locke and Rhett Ellison. Despite the losses, the Vikings roster remains both deep and talented, at least on paper.

The Vikings front office did a good job of replacing these players, but keep in mind that none of the departing players had monumental seasons in 2016.

ROSTER REPLACEMENTS
2016 Player2017 Replacement(s)
RB Adrian PetersonLatavius Murray
Dalvin Cook
Jerick McKinnon
CB Captain MunnerlynMackensie Alexander
Terence Newman
LT Matt KalilRiley Reiff
WR Cordarrelle PattersonRodney Adams
Stacy Coley
TE Rhett EllisonDavid Morgan
Bucky Hodges
P Jeff LockeTyler Symmank
Ryan Quigley

The recycling of talent has given fans a legitimate reason to adopt an “addition by subtraction” mindset.

The team added players that fit their coaches’ schemes. Offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur runs a version of the West Coast offense and George Edwards coordinates Mike Zimmer’s 4-3 attacking/hybrid defense. How the incoming players are able to mesh with the schemes as well as their new teammates will likely play a large part in the team’s success in 2017. Early reports are positive.

There will be plenty of training camp storylines to follow that involve the Vikings depth chart:

  • Will the Vikings make any trades during camp?
  • What tough cuts will be made due to the abundance of roster competition?
  • Will Teddy Bridgewater be placed on PUP/IR, or be medically cleared to play?
  • Who will win these position battles?
Running backLatavius Murray
Dalvin Cook
Jerick McKinnon
CenterNick Easton
Pat Elflein
Weakside linebackerEmmanuel Lamur
Edmond Robinson
Elijah Lee
Ben Gedeon
Defensive tackleDatone Jones
Tom Johnson
Jaleel Johnson
Sharrif Floyd
Slot cornerbackMackensie Alexander
Terence Newman
KickerKai Forbath
Marshall Koen
PunterTyler Symmank
Ryan Quigley
Backup quarterbackTaylor Heinicke
Case Keenum
3rd and 4th wide receiversLaquon Treadwell
Michael Floyd
Jarius Wright
Rodney Adams
OT depthRashod Hill
Jeremiah Sirles
Reid Fragel
Austin Shepherd
Aviante Collins
OG depthDanny Isidora
Zac Kerin
Willie Beavers
TJ Clemmings
Freddie Tagaloa

The VT team will take a look at each one of the position battles in the coming days.

TEDDY’S PROMISING SPRING

Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater saw action during the Vikings OTAs. He looked further along in his rehab than most fans anticipated. While he’s not medically cleared to practice, he may become healthy enough to avoid landing on the team’s PUP list. It seems unlikely at this point, but never say never to Teddy Two Gloves.

How the Vikings play in camp practices will provide a glimpse into the 2017 team. These questions and more will be answered in the coming weeks:

  • Can the rebuilt offensive line perform better than last year?
  • How will the defense be affected by the loss of leader Chad Greenway?
  • Will the Vikings be able to improve the running game?
  • Can the offense be more successful in the red zone?
  • How will this team respond to injuries?

These storylines should make for an eventful, and dare I say grand finale training camp in Mankato. The Maverick City will be the place to come July 24th.

Your 2017 Vikings training camp dates and practice schedules can be found here.