The Minnesota Vikings were on the field Tuesday for the final week of OTAs. They begin mandatory minicamp next week and then have a break until training camp. Here is what we learned on Tuesday…
Dalvin Cook is back
The Vikings had talked about getting Cook ready for training camp, but he was on the field for the full practice at TCO Performance Center on Tuesday. He took reps with the first team, taking a few handoffs, pass protecting and even motioning out to wide receiver during a red zone drill.
“It’s more about getting him around bodies flying at him a little bit,” head coach Mike Zimmer said. “It’s not so much trying to figure out what he can do right now, just trying to get him comfortable with 22 players around him.”
Kyle Rudolph’s ankle progressing
The Vikings’ tight end had offseason surgery on his ankle. He didn’t expect to be back as a full participant this quickly. At the podium on Tuesday, Rudolph talked about working his way back from an injury that he played through late last season.
“It’s a ton of fun to be back out there competing,” Rudolph said. “The plan was for me to not be doing anything right now, so to have the opportunity, thankfully to work with the best training staff in our game. They are the Ed Block Courage award winners for a reason. They’re really good at their job. They got me to the point where I’m out there a few weeks early. ”
If John DeFilippo’s history means anything, Rudolph has reason to be excited about his new offense. DeFilippo’s 2015 Browns team and last year’s Eagles team were both led in catches by tight ends.
“I think there’s an increased level of comfort with everyone as we get more comfortable in the system,” Rudolph said. “When you put in an entirely new offense, at first you are thinking more than you’re just going out and playing. As we are getting into OTAs six, seven, eight, you’re starting to see guys to allow their playmaking ability to shine through.”
Rudolph joked earlier this offseason about how he’s now considered a grizzled veteran, though he hasn’t turned 29 yet. He’s seen a number of offensive coordinators in his time. DeFilippo is the third in four years.
“Offense is a lot like foreign language, we’re saying the same thing, just in a different language,” Rudolph said. “The biggest thing in an offseason when you have a new system and new coordinator is learning that new language. Once you learn the language, we’re doing a lot of the same stuff we’ve been doing here for years. Having been through the numerous coordinators that I’ve been through, learned the numerous offense that I’ve neared, that’s one of the things I’ve been able to take from each transition that we’ve gone through.”
Remmers is a guard, for now
In the first week of OTAs, Mike Remmers played right tackle, but over the last two weeks he’s worked at guard while Rashod Hill holds down the first-team tackle spot. Zimmer talked bout what he likes about Remmers at guard.
“He’s done good,” Zimmer said. “Mike’s a very instinctive player in there. He sees a lot of things, he’s got good quickness, he’s got good power. He’s been able to get the three technique reached a couple times, he’s been able to sit down on some guys rushing…we’re still trying to figure out with Elflein hurt where we’re going to go. It’s good to have a guy that can move around.”
Last year, Remmers was thrown into the guard position in Week 17 and in the Vikings’ two playoff games. Now he will have much more time to build chemistry with Hill.
“I think the guys have a lot more experience working with each other and you know what to expect working with the guy next to you,” Remmers said. “Part of it is just getting that chemistry down.”
Zimmer wants Hunter to cut it loose
Danielle Hunter set the bar extremely high with 12.5 sacks in 2016 and then regressed a bit to a solid 7.0 sacks last season. Zimmer is trying to encourage Hunter to focus on playing with some recklessness.
“The biggest thing with Danielle — and he’s had a great spring — the biggest thing is just cut it loose, not think so much,” Zimmer said. “A lot of these young guys have a tendency to think so much about what they should do or what they might do.”
“Danielle wants to be perfect all the time and at that position you can’t always be perfect, sometimes you have to be reckless,” Zimmer added. “He’s added a few things to his rush arsenal now and that’s helped him some too.”
Holton Hill is making an impression
The Vikings nabbed ESPN’s No. 1 undrafted free agent in Holton Hill, who undoubtedly would have been picked if not for off-field concerns. So far, it appears he’s fitting in.
“He’s got good size, he’s got good speed, he’s tough, he’ll hit, I thought a lot of the things we look for in corners, he has,” Zimmer said. “The stop and start, the breaks, things like that. Out here he’s done a really good job with the things he’s doing. Obviously he’s still learning a lot about technique. We obviously can’t press right now, so we’ll see where he gets when we get to camp.”
Zimmer was asked if he would consider Hill at safety considering his size and tackling ability, but the Vikings’ head coach said he will work as only a corner for now.
Treadwell again with the 1s
For the second straight week, Laquon Treadwell saw all of his snaps with the first team while Kendall Wright played with the second team. There isn’t much we can take away now, but it may indicate that Treadwell will get an opportunity to be a part of a rotation.
Everson Griffen has not participated in OTAs. Zimmer made it clear that Griffen’s foot injury from last season is not the issue, but did not elaborate.
“We thought he’d get back a little bit this week but it may be this week and it may not be, we’re really not going to push it,” Zimmer said.
Stacy Coley, Jeff Badet, Pat Elflein, Jalyn Holmes, Andrew Sendejo and Trevon Mathis also were not participating.