Minnesota Vikings: Previewing The 2014 Training Camp

Minnesota Vikings: 2014 Training Camp Preview

Minnesota Vikings Offensive and Defensive Lines
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The 2014 NFL season is rapidly approaching as players will begin reporting to training camp in a little less than one week. Here is a preview of how the Minnesota Vikings' training camp is shaping up to look like.

Schedule

Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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Schedule

Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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The Vikings' training camp schedule begins on July 24, when players will arrive at Mankato State University in southern Minnesota. Practices are scheduled to take place from July 25-28, July 30-Aug. 2, Aug. 4-6, and will close with the team's first preseason game on Aug. 8. Fans will also have an opportunity to meet and receive autographs from players on several dates before team practice begins as well.

Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
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Quarterbacks

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
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The Vikings will open training camp with three QBs on their roster: veterans Matt Cassel and Christian Ponder, as well as rookie Teddy Bridgewater. Cassel received the majority of the first-team snaps during mini-camp, with Bridgewater spending most of the time with the second team and Ponder with the third team. Mike Zimmer has yet to name his Week 1 starter, inspiring an increasingly competitive QB battle.

Running Backs and Fullbacks

Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings
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Running Backs and Fullbacks

Jerick McKinnon Minnesota Vikings
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As it has been since 2008, All-Pro RB Adrian Peterson will enter training camp as the Vikings' starting running back. Jerick McKinnon, Matt Asiata and RB/FB Zach Line will compete to back up No. 28, but McKinnon appears to have an inside track due to his versatile skillset and third-down back capabilities.

Jerome Felton is expected to continue his reign as the Vikings' starting FB, opening up lanes for Peterson to run through.

Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
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Wide Receivers and Tight Ends

Cordarrelle Patterson Minnesota Vikings
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The Vikings' pass catching depth chart is all but set in stone with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson heading the WR corps and Kyle Rudolph on top of the TE group. Jarius Wright will be featured in the slot while Jerome Simpson will be used on the outside once again. Chase Ford and Rhett Ellison will compete for the No. 2 TE position behind Rudolph.

Keep an eye on undrafted rookie TE A.C. Leonard, and WRs Adam Thielen and Erik Lora.

Offensive Line

David Yankey Minnesota Vikings
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Offensive Line

David Yankey Minnesota Vikings
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Not a whole lot has changed on the offensive line, as LT Matt Kalil, G Charlie Johnson, C John Sullivan, G Brandon Fusco and RT Phil Loadholt will open training camp on top of the depth chart. Rookie G David Yankey is a strong candidate to beat out either Johnson or Fusco for a starting position, while G Vladimir Ducasse may factor into the equation as well.

Defensive Line

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line
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Defensive Line

Minnesota Vikings Defensive Line
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Brian Robison is the only returning starter on a revamped Vikings defensive line. He and Everson Griffen are expected to be the Week 1 starters at DE. Rookie Scott Crichton will compete with Corey Wootton for the rotational DE role Griffen played in 2013.

NT Linval Joseph is expected to pair up with DT Sharrif Floyd in the interior defensive line. DT Fred Evans and NT Shamar Stephen will also compete for playing time in the interior.

Linebackers

Audie Cole Minnesota Vikings
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Linebackers

Audie Cole Minnesota Vikings
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LB Chad Greenway will return as one of the Vikings' starters in 2014, but it is yet to be determined which LB position he will play. The group of Greenway, Jasper Brinkley and Audie Cole received the most first-team reps during mini-camp, but rookie Anthony Barr, Michael Mauti and Gerald Hodges still remain in contention.

Barr will likely feature in pass rushing situations, as LB groupings will differentiate depending on the package.

Defensive Backs

Xavier Rhodes Minnesota Vikings
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Defensive Backs

Xavier Rhodes Minnesota Vikings
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Xavier Rhodes is expected to be the No. 1 CB on the outside while Captain Munnerlyn controls the slot position. Josh Robinson and Derek Cox are the favorites to start opposite of Rhodes on the outside.

After returning from injury, Harrison Smith will start at FS. The starting SS position will be a competition between Jamarca Sanford, Robert Blanton, Andrew Sendejo and Kurt Coleman. Antone Exum will also compete for playing time at S and CB.

Special Teams

Blair Walsh Minnesota Vikings
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Special Teams

Blair Walsh Minnesota Vikings
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K Blair Walsh, P Jeff Locke and LS Cullen Loeffler will all return as starters for the Vikings in 2014.

Both the KR and PR positions will be open competitions for the Vikings during training camp. Incumbent Marcus Sherels is the favorite for the PR position. Patterson likely will trade in his KR role for a larger offensive role, leaving the job to the winner of a competition between Wright, McKinnon, Thielen and Lora.

Biggest Camp Battle: Starting Quarterback Battle

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings
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Biggest Camp Battle: Starting Quarterback Battle

Matt Cassel Minnesota Vikings
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While Cassel is the favorite to start at QB for the Vikings in Week 1, Bridgewater is proving to be heavy competition, receiving praise all summer from coaches for his rapid growth and development. Ponder is said to be in the competition as well, but this appears to be a smokescreen by Zimmer.

Given a tough opening schedule, Cassel will be the Week 1 starter at QB, but could turn over the job to Bridgewater by Week 4 if he struggles early on.

Robert Reidell is a Minnesota Vikings Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter, ”Like” him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google+


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