Vikings' offseason program culminates with next weekend's minicamp
Get the 1500 ESPN SportsWire delivered to your inbox daily, and keep up with all the news in Twin Cities Sports
A sign of just how close we are to the NFL season: the Minnesota Vikings' offseason program wraps in one week.
Select players are expected to participate in the final two organized team activity practices on Monday and Tuesday. Then, the mandatory minicamp kicks off on Friday, with four practices scheduled through Sunday morning.
The only player expected to skip minicamp (40-year-old quarterbacks excluded) is end Ray Edwards, who hasn't signed his restricted free-agent tender and thus can't be fined for sitting out.
Two rookies barred from participating in OTAs by NCAA/NFL rules -- running back Toby Gerhart, the second-round pick, and undrafted receiver Ray Small (Ohio State) -- are eligible for minicamp because their schools wrap exams this week.
After the final practice next Sunday morning, players will be on their own for nearly seven weeks before training camp begins in Mankato. Because the Vikings' first preseason game is Aug. 14, the earliest they can resume practice is Saturday, July 31. (The schedule hasn't been announced.)
We'll have full coverage from minicamp beginning on Friday.
In case you were in cave (or cabin) last week, here's what you missed:
• MLB E.J. Henderson (leg) says he'll be "ready to rock" by training camp, but defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier says the team is proceeding as if second-year pro Jasper Brinkley will start the season opener.
• TE Visanthe Shiancoe took his Twitter feud with ex-teammate Darren Sharper to the next level on the shooting range, then announced a ceasefire.
• S Jamarca Sanford is getting an audition, but I don't expect Madieu Williams or Tyrell Johnson to lose his starting job.
• K Ryan Longwell admitted the signing of kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd made him think about life after football.
• Coach Brad Childress said he isn't concerned about RB Adrian Peterson and WR Percy Harvin, who have skipped OTAs.
• Sanford talked about his expectations for Year 2.
As always, all of our stories and videos -- including archived headlines on every player -- can be found on the VikingsWire.