Vikings Rookie Minicamp: 3 Things We Learned on Day 1

Minnesota Vikings quarterback J.J. McCarthy at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. McCarthy was drafted by the Vikings with the 10th overall pick on April 25th, 2024 in Detroit.

It’s here. The J.J. McCarthy era has begun in the Twin Cities, as the Minnesota Vikings formally kicked off rookie minicamp on Friday, an event that will run through Sunday.

Vikings Rookie Minicamp: 3 Things We Learned on Day 1

Of course, the club has a rookie minicamp every year, but this season, it’s supersized because the purple team has a brand new quarterback to take over the baton from the Kirk Cousins era. Cousins now quarterbacks the Atlanta Falcons.

new qb
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

And with Day No. 1 of rookie minicamp in the books, these three items were learned, and they’re ranked in ascending order (No. 1 = most important)

3. Kevin O’Connell Uses an O’Connellian Tactic

Vikings Rookie Minicamp
Minnesota Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center on Wednesday, December 6th, 2023. The Vikings had a quarterback debate off the bye week in 2023, and O’Connell announced incumbent starter Joshua Dobbs would play in Week 14 at the Las Vegas Raiders.

Want to know how head coach Kevin O’Connell operates? He gave a keynote example right away on Friday.

Last year, Ivan Pace Jr. entered the facilities in Eagan and later set the world on fire as a Week 1 starter. Ever the optimist, O’Connell used Pace Jr.’s story to motivate his 2024 rookie class. O’Connell played a video of Pace Jr. on his first day of rookie minicamp one year ago β€” and then followed that footage with Pace Jr. yanking a game-winning interception out of the sky six months later versus the Las Vegas Raiders.

The tactic was classic O’Connell, the eternal motivator and endorser of optimism.

2. Brian Flores Is Already All Business

Minnesota Vikings outside linebacker Dallas Turner at the first day of rookie minicamp on May 10th, 2024, in Eagan, Minnesota. TCO Performance Center. Turner was drafted by the Vikings with the 17th overall pick on April 25th, 2024, in Detroit.

Dallas Turner, the Vikings’ second pick of the draft with the 17th overall pick, took the microphone and outlined his boss’ seriousness β€” in a good way.

Flores is ready to go, inevitably excited to work with Turner, who was considered by many as the top defensive player in the draft but somehow fell to Minnesota at pick No. 17. Turner said about Flores’ intensity, “You can tell that he definitely doesn’t play no games, for sure, and he’s definitely all about business. You know β€” handling business. I’m about the same thing, too, you know, so our energies just collided, and it’s very good energy, for sure.”

Turner also said about his personal eagerness to get involved, “You ever seen one of the little kids with the backpack leash on ’em? It’s kinda like that. The kid wants to go out there and run and play, but it’s like, ‘Nope, come back here.'”

1. The Buzz Is Tremendous

TCO Performance Center in Eagan, Minnesota. August 3rd, 2023. The Vikings kicked off the annual night practice in front of a packed house, preparing to defend the NFC North title. Minnesota hasn’t won back-to-back NFC North crowns since 2008 and 2009.

Let’s face it: Friday, May 10th, 2024, was all about the aesthetic of seeing J.J. McCarthy in a Vikings uniform. The man passed the eye test.

Vikings leaders weren’t on deck to break much news on Friday β€” that’s what March and April were for β€” but getting the rookies in purple clothes was the requirement, and the test was passed with flying colors. Especially McCarthy, the beacon of Vikings football for the next 4 to 15 years.

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).

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