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Updated: June 17th, 2014 12:38pm
LB Barr, other rookies back in action after NFL rule postponed arrival

LB Barr, other rookies back in action after NFL rule postponed arrival

by Derek Wetmore
1500ESPN.com
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Audio Clip
5/30/2014
Sports Over Beers, episode 18
Vikings beat reporter Andrew Krammer joins the Sports Over Beers podcast after watching Vikings OTAs. -- What did you see at Vikings OTAs? You had a one-on-one with Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner the other day—what did you learn? What is visual memory and how does it relate to Turner’s QBs? How will this offense differ from the West Coast offense? How will Turner impact the running backs and tight ends and why could that be good for the Vikings? Plenty of praise for Norv Turner, with a healthy dose of pumping the brakes. Why is Judd excited about this upcoming Vikings season?-- How will Mike Zimmer change what the linebackers are expected to do? Who will play middle linebacker to start the season? Who’s the third cornerback? Who is the second safety? What will the coaching staff do with Adrian Peterson? Some of these questions won’t be answered for a while.-- What more can we learn before training camp begins?
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Two of the Vikings draft selection that offer promise - Anthony Barr and Scott Crichton - are getting a late start to the offseason preparation with their new team. A third, David Yankey, started just last week.

That's because NFL rules dictate that players drafted out of the PAC-12 can attend only one offseason camp with their NFL team while school is in session. Barr (UCLA), Crichton (Oregon State) and Yankey (Stanford) each attended a school that uses the quarter system, instead of semesters.

Yankey joined the fold last week, but Barr and Crichton saw their first action in a month during Tuesday's mandatory minicamp. They joined Vikings draftees and various other undrafted free agents during a Vikings rookie minicamp in mid-May. But then it was back to school, allowed by rule to keep in touch with the team, but not to be present at 10 Organized Team Activities practices through May and early June.

Surely that must have set back the rookies?

"It's hard for me to tell how far they're behind, because we've only had a walk-through so far, and they didn't mess anything up in that," head coach Mike Zimmer said before practice Tuesday. "I'll know more as we get going in practice, how far they're behind. Today is a fairly easy install day for those guys. They've had everything that we've done in the rookie minicamp. It shouldn't be too difficult for them, but we'll have to find out where they're at as we go throughout the week."

The Vikings will continue practice Wednesday and Thursday, the final practice before training camp begins in Mankato in late July.

"We drafted them because we think they're good players and felt fortunate they were there when we picked. The excitement level will raise or lower based on what they do on the field."

The NFL offseason already was shortened, because the draft was held in May this year, two weeks later than previous years. Add that to the fact that three of Minnesota's first five selections weren't allowed to join OTAs, and the Vikings' staff had some catching up to do.

Adam Zimmer flew out to California to work with Barr, but was limited to off-field work, per NFL rule, such as conditioning and film work with the Vikings playbook. Offensive line coach Jeff Davidson reportedly made trips to Stanford to work with Yankey.

"We felt good about it as coaches being able to go down there and spend some time with them," Mike Zimmer said. "We were on the phone with them quite a bit. We went through a lot of tapes with them. But there is no substitute for doing it out on the field. It's a way to be within the rules and do the best job that we can."

The NFL rule, created with encouragement of the American Football Coaches Association in 1990, limits players to a single minicamp with his professional team while college is still in session. 

"Yeah, it kind of sucks," Barr said in May during a rookie minicamp at Winter Park. "Hopefully I can learn and hopefully they'll continue to send me stuff, send me film. It's going to be more mental than physical, really. So when I get to camp, I can get my feet on the ground and just roll." 

Derek Wetmore is the senior editor for 1500ESPN.com. His previous stops include MLB.com and the Minnesota Daily.
Email Derek | @DerekWetmore
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