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2014 Minnesota Vikings: Catching Up on OTAs

I wasn’t there for OTAs, but I have a Twitter account and a blog, so I can aggregate the various storylines I’ve heard coming out of camp and keep them here for easy reference.

Let’s start out with the players who have not practiced for whatever reason:

  • Anthony Barr is currently finishing his semester at UCLA.
  • Scott Crichton is currently finishing his semester at Oregon State.
  • David Yankey is currently finishing his semester at Stanford.
  • Teddy Bridgewater represented the Vikings at the NFLPA rookie event in Los Angeles.
  • Matt Kalil underwent a minor procedure that limited him to individual drills (not his shoulder, but knee).
  • Linval Joseph underwent a procedure of some sort that kept him out entirely.
  • Andrew Sendejo had a back procedure that kept him out entirely.
  • Jamarca Sanford sat out after getting knicked up yesterday.
  • Josh Robinson sat out after getting knicked up yesterday.

There are a few other things, but because it’s OTAs, not a ton can be gleaned from it.


Coach Mike Zimmer is a yeller and naturally swears, and evidently got into everybody (including veterans like Adrian Peterson and Chad Greeway). Norv Turner evidently is not too far off that mold.

Jerick McKinnon, Marcus Sherels, Adam Thielen, Jarius Wright and Erik Lora took punt and kick return reps.

Antone Exum took safety reps.

Adrian Peterson is fully recovered from his offseason surgery.

Christian Ponder worked exclusively with the second team, which doesn’t necessarily run counter to the statements we had heard about him taking first-team reps. They just didn’t happen today.

Matt Cassel worked exclusively with the first team.

The first team linebackers were Chad Greenway, Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole. Greenway took some snaps at MLB.

The first team safeties were Harrison Smith and a combination of Robert Blanton and Kurt Coleman.

Fred Evans filled in at nose tackle for Linval Joseph.

Everson Griffen and Brian Robison took first team DE reps. Griffen registered would-be sacks several times through them.

In Matt Kalil’s absence, both Antonio Richardson and Kevin Murphy took LT snaps with the first team.

Robert Blanton (as a safety) and Mike Zimmer (the linebacker) grabbed interceptions. Corey Wootton nearly grabbed a pick, but dropped it. The same is true of Antone Exum. That means each Cassel and Ponder had one pick (Zimmer of Cassel, Blanton of Ponder), with Ponder nearly responsible for two more.

According to Andrew Krammer at ESPN1500, “Ponder looked shaky” and, per Brian Murphy of the Pioneer Press went 10-for-18 and had a batted pass to boot.

Adrian Peterson is having a fun time picking up the offense. Per Tim Yotter with Vikings Update:

Earlier this month, after his first personal exposure to Turner’s offense at the veteran minicamp prior to the draft, Peterson said the offense was “like performing heart surgery without a license.”

On Thursday, he was closer to getting his license in Turner’s offense while comparing it to surgeon’s work.

“I still want to practice on the side. I got to rent a heart or something. But where I’m at now, the terminology, I’m starting to pick it up even more,” Peterson said. “It’s all about staying in that playbook, understanding the terminology and breaking the play down. It’s going well.”

Based off of what I’ve heard, this is the depth chart at OTAs as far as I can surmise (a lot of the second and third teams are due to speculation and some broad rules about rookies):

Offense Depth Chart - OTAs 1Defense Depth Chart - OTAs 1

As you can probably guess, the grayed out players are players that missed today’s activities for whatever reason—mostly injury, but four missed because of other obligations (school, NFLPA rookie premier). Obviously, receiver is most in flux because rotation is highest there.


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  1. Excellent condensed article covering the practice. Can we expect one of these every time practice is open to the media?

  2. From a huge Vikings fan, thanks for all the great articles, Arif. Really enjoy the “behind the scenes” info you provide as well as your analysis (which I usually agree with).

  3. Hi Arif…. Anything to be gleaned from the WRs and TEs so far? Would be great if some of those younger players, Thielen, R. Smith, McKinnon, Lora, Colter and Leonard can bring some athleticism and energy to the offense. Any early impressions on McKinnon as a receiver? Seems smooth and natural from the highlights, but that’s only a brief snapshot. It seems we have the potential to add a lot of speed to both sides of the ball.

    Good to hear that Zimmer/Turner have high standards for everyone….. Should play/practice with a sense of urgency. My impression of Zim is that this is his chance, and he will make the most of it, and every game, every snap, counts…. no ‘we’ll get ’em next year.’ Aside from not being a very good coach (DB, DC, or HC), I think Frazier suffered from trying to be the anti-Buddy Ryan, whatever Ryan would do, he’d do the opposite.

  4. Vikes carried 5 WRs last year, right? If Leonard works out, he could almost be a sixth, with his 4.5 speed, route-running, and hands.