Rookie Minicamp Gets Underway
The Vikings opened up their rookie minicamp on Friday, and it was the one day that will be open to the media, so we have some actual football tidbits to pass along. Second-year hopefuls, this offseason’s draft class, and undrafted free agent signings intermingle with players in on a tryout basis to try and shine in front of the coaching staff. Here is what we know from Day One:
ROOKIE CLASS: It is apparent, when watching these guys go up against each other, why the Vikings selected the guys they did at the top of the NFL Draft. All reports seem to indicate that Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, and Cordarrelle Patterson are clearly superior to the rest of the talent that was taking part in the practices.
COLIN ANDERSON: Chris Kluwe might not be the only special teamer looking over his shoulder these days. Furman tight end Colin Anderson is an accomplished long snapper and could potentially end up being competition for the team’s longest tenured player, long snapper Cullen Loeffler. Loeffler is 32 years old and will carry a base salary of $915,00 this season and $1.135 million in 2014. Anderson claims, however, that he is at Winter Park trying to make the team as a tight end.
MICHAEL MAUTI: The Vikings didn’t make a huge investment when they selected Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti in the seventh round, but they are hoping to get huge returns. Mauti is still rehabbing his knee injury, though, and patience will be necessary for those eager to see what he brings to the table. Still, coach Leslie Frazier was unwilling to crown Erin Henderson the starter at middle linebacker, and says they will take a look at a number of options.
JEFF LOCKE: Snow forced the Vikings minicamp indoors and fifth round selection Jeff Locke headed to the Metrodome to punt in front of special teams coordinator Mike Priefer. He then returned to Winter Park to take some reps as a field goal holder. By all accounts, including Locke himself, the first day went well. We could see Kluwe released as soon as Monday if the Vikings decide they got what they bargained for when they drafted Locke last month.
XAVIER RHODES: He intercepted the first ball thrown in the first minicamp of his first year in the NFL. As omens go, that isn’t too shabby. Rhodes continued to impress throughout the practices and is an early favorite to win a starting job at cornerback, alongside Chris Cook.
DURON CARTER: The son of the Vikings all-time leading receiver Cris Carter has a rough start to the minicamp, dropping the first three footballs going his way. Carter improved throughout the day and is hoping to turn his tryout into a roster spot, but he will need to show more improvement if he wants to stick with the Vikings for the long haul.