5 Takeaways from Vikings Training Camp Press Conference

Nov 3, 2019; Kansas City, MO, USA; A general view of a Minnesota Vikings helmet during the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings kicked off training camp on Sunday, with rookies arriving in Eagan. Veterans followed on Tuesday.

Also Tuesday, head coach Kevin O’Connell fielded questions from the media, and general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did the same after O’Connell.

5 Takeaways from Vikings Training Camp Press Conference

These are the five major takeaways from the session, ranked in order of importance (No. 1 = most important). You can watch the press conference here (O’Connell) and here (Adofo-Mensah).

5. Disappointment and Optimism about Jordan Addison

Jordan Addison Clears
Apr 27, 2023; Kansas City, MO, USA; USC wide receiver Jordan Addison poses for a photo on the NFL Draft Red Carpet before the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Connell vividly wasn’t enthused by Jordan Addison’s recent traffic infraction; the young wideout was cited for reckless driving last week, traveling 140 MPH in a 55 MPH zone.

“I was disappointed, but it was a mistake, and obviously, he’s owning that mistake and knows that’s something that can’t happen again,” O’Connell surmised.

The coach also leaned into Addison’s status as a rookie and the maturity learning curve accompanying such players. Overall, O’Connell remained upbeat about Addison’s stock in 2023 and almost sounded like a father whose kid got popped for a naughty night.

4. Alexander Mattison as RB1

from Vikings Training
Sep 13, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA Minnesota Vikings running back Alexander Mattison (25) rushes with the ball in the second half against the Green Bay Packers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

A theme all offseason, O’Connell reaffirmed Alexander Mattison’s status as the team’s presumptive RB1.

Some fans have talked themselves into believing Ty Chandler or DeWayne McBride could steal the RB1 gig — not an unreasonable bold prediction — but per the head coach, it’s all systems go for Mattison.

Like every opportunity since March, when asked about Mattison, O’Connell expressed excitement about the 25-year-old and inferred the man would serve as a true-blue RB1.

While the Vikings could indeed showcase an RB-by-committee more so than the Adrian Peterson or Dalvin Cook eras, Mattison is very much the RB1, according to O’Connell.

3. Contract Extensions on the Way But No New News

Oct 30, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson (18) celebrates his catch against the Arizona Cardinals in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Six months ago, Adofo-Mensah called Jefferson’s upcoming extension a ‘champagne problem,’ meaning it was a good challenge to encounter.

At training camp, reporters once again asked the young executive about impending contract extensions for Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson. Again, Adofo-Mensah reiterated his ardor for each player and seemed to insinuate extensions were around the bend.

Adofo-Mensah said, “We just got back,” to Eagan, and that table was evidently set to continue extension talks.

2. A ‘Hold In’ for Danielle Hunter

Vikings vs. Cardinals — a High Scoring Game like Last Year?
Sep 19, 2021; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray (1) runs the ball against Minnesota Vikings defensive end Danielle Hunter (99) in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Billy Hardiman-USA TODAY Sports.

Hunter would’ve been fined for his absence(s) at camp, so he showed up this week but won’t participate in on-the-field activity without a new contract.

The defender was not at June’s minicamp.

His presence was positive, and O’Connell spoke optimistically about Hunter’s future in Minnesota. “It’s going to be a day-to-day thing. Danielle and I have had such good dialogue over the last few days and built a plan for him that allows him to feel good about coming to work as a Minnesota Viking every single day. We’ll continue to work through the contractual side and let that be dealt with — with Kwesi,” he said.

Hunter could still be traded if the Vikings believe his asking price is too high, but his arrival at camp, on the whole, is a positive development.

1. No PUP List for Brian O’Neill

Dec 26, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive tackle Brian O’Neill (75) and Los Angeles Rams outside linebacker Von Miller (40) in action at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

O’Neill partially tore his Achilles in Week 17 of the 2022 season at Lambeau Field.

Some seven months later, he’s back without significant limitations. O’Connell said about O’Neill’s status, “We will continue kind of a pre-determined plan for him that allows him to really progress towards the ultimate goal, which has always been September 10th against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. There’ll be a process throughout camp.”

Had O’Neill not been on track for Week 1 against the Buccaneers — a real fear by Vikings fans — Minnesota would’ve pivoted to veteran Oli Udoh or Blake Brandel for starting duty.

This week was a ‘perfect opportunity’ to toss O’Neill on the PUP list, but it was not needed.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.