By Kristen Fazio @Kristen_Fazio on June 2, 2014
Last week when the Vikings began OTAs it was the first opportunity for the rookies to join the veterans on the field. All NFL teams use this time to get their players integrated into their schemes, especially those with a new coaching staff like the Vikings. There are still many unanswered questions and there likely will be all the way into training camp, but here are some of the things we did learn early on in OTAs.
Three Pac-12 players the Vikings drafted -- Anthony Barr (UCLA), Scott Crichton (Oregon State) and David Yankey (Stanford) -- will miss OTAs. Each of their respective schools runs on a quarterly schedule rather than a semester schedule, therefore none of them will be able to participate in OTAs until after their final exams are completed. However, the Vikings are still able to communicate with them while they're gone.
The Vikings will be running a 4-3/3-4 hybrid defense of some sort—much different from Leslie Frazier's simplistic and generic Tampa-2 defense. They will have a lot of different looks, disguises and sub-packages. It is more complicated but much appreciated and welcomed by the players. The Vikings signed DT Linval Joseph and DE Corey Wootton and also drafted DE Scott Crichton after re-signing DE Everson Griffen to bolster their defensive line.
The Vikings' offensive players are slowly adapting to and learning Norv Turner's offense. Adrian Peterson compared it to performing "open heart surgery without a license" and will see his role in the passing offense increase. The concepts and the terminology are a major difference from past Viking offenses. As the players get a hang of it, it will be a fun offense to watch as Turner has many playmakers at his disposal.
Currently, the Vikings have a talented young corner in Xavier Rhodes and a proven corner in Captain Munnerlyn with no real depth behind them. They spent late-round draft picks on Kendall James and Jabari Price and signed free agent Derek Cox. They also return Josh Robinson, Shaun Prater and Marcus Sherels. None of those names will jump out at you, and you have to wonder if they will bring in a veteran corner to shore up the secondary.
In the little time that Teddy Bridgewater has been on the field, he has certainly impressed Vikings coaches with his knowledge and leadership. Bridgewater missed a couple days of OTAs last week due to the NFLPA Rookie Premiere. He will be given every opportunity to earn a starting job while competing with veterans Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder.
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