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