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NFL Minnesota Vikings

Minnesota Vikings: 10 Takeaways From 2014 Training Camp

Minnesota Vikings: 10 Takeaways From 2014 Training Camp

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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The Minnesota Vikings are currently in the midst of their first training camp under first-time Head Coach Mike Zimmer. With nearly a completely different coaching staff and a number of young players on the roster, there were bound to be a number of changes made during training camp this season.

Here are 10 takeaways from Vikings training camp so far.

10. Mike Zimmer is Tough

Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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10. Mike Zimmer is Tough

Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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Many have seen the video of Zimmer cursing up a storm while he was the defensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals. As a result, his tough coaching style should not come as a surprise. Zimmer has been especially hard on the young guys, namely Anthony Barr and Xavier Rhodes. However, he absolutely has the respect of his team.

9. CB Jabari Price Worth a Seventh Round Pick

Jabari Price Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

9. CB Jabari Price Worth a Seventh Round Pick

Jabari Price Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

When asked which player has stood out the most, Zimmer as well as multiple Vikings analysts have brought up Price. Price came into camp as a seventh-round pick with likely very low expectations. Price received an opportunity to gain more reps with Captain Munnerlyn beginning camp on the PUP and take full advantage of it. He may not be a roster lock, but he has certainly opened some eyes.

8. WR Adam Thielen Leads No. 5 Wide Receiver Competition

Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

8. WR Adam Thielen Leads No. 5 Wide Receiver Competition

Adam Thielen Minnesota Vikings
Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Another young player who has stood out during training camp is Thielen, an undrafted wide receiver out of Division II Minnesota State-Mankato. Thielen has had a great camp, catching nearly everything thrown at him and making a number of highlight-reel plays. As it stands now, Thielen should be the favorite to make the 53-man roster as the team’s No. 5 wide receiver.

7. No Clear Favorite to Start at Strong Safety

Robert Blanton Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

7. No Clear Favorite to Start at Strong Safety

Robert Blanton Minnesota Vikings
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

After gaining an edge on the starting strong safety position, Robert Blanton was injured and could potentially miss the remainder of camp. Blanton’s injury opened up the strong safety competition once again. With no clear favorite, the Vikings signed former Cincinnati Bengal Chris Crocker to add depth to the position.

6. G David Yankey May Not Be Ready to Start

David Yankey Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

6. G David Yankey May Not Be Ready to Start

David Yankey Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

One of the young players many analysts have been excited about is former Stanford guard David Yankey. It seemed inevitable that Yankey would steal a starting guard position during training camp, but this may not be the case. While Yankey has had his moments, he has also struggled quite a bit adjusting to the NFL. Yankey will need to refine his game a bit if he hopes to remain in contention for a starting role.

5. CB Xavier Rhodes Has Improved

Xavier Rhodes Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

5. CB Xavier Rhodes Has Improved

Xavier Rhodes Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Zimmer broke into the NFL as a defensive backs coach, so it should come as no surprise that his No. 1 cornerback has played well during training camp. Rhodes has made his fair share of errors, something that Zimmer has had no problem pointing out, but has also showed improved coverage skills. Rhodes’ athleticism has also bailed him out at times, as proven by his diving interception during an inter-squad scrimmage last week.

4. RB Adrian Peterson Will Catch More Passes This Season

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

4. RB Adrian Peterson Will Catch More Passes This Season

Adrian Peterson Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

This is a bit of an obvious point given the amount of press coverage on the subject, but it is also an important one. Peterson has almost exclusively been used as a between-the-tackles rusher throughout his career. As a result, he has experienced some issues catching the ball out of the backfield, dropping a number of “easy” catches. There will be growing pains, but Peterson should still be an asset to the passing game.

3. QB Teddy Bridgewater Has Legitimate Shot to Start Week 1

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

3. QB Teddy Bridgewater Has Legitimate Shot to Start Week 1

Teddy Bridgewater Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Zimmer announced at the beginning of training camp that Matt Cassel was the No. 1 quarterback on his depth chart. However, Cassel has not done enough yet to solidify this standing. In fact, Bridgewater has actually outplayed Cassel for the most part throughout training camp. This competition should come down to the wire.

2. LB Anthony Barr is Ready to Contribute

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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2. LB Anthony Barr is Ready to Contribute

Anthony Barr Minnesota Vikings Rookie Minicamp
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With a rookie quarterback competing to start, many have completely forgotten that the Vikings selected Barr 23 picks before Bridgewater. Most analysts, myself included, have brought up the fact that Barr is very raw as a possible concern. However, the Vikings have yet to give Barr a challenge he has not been able to handle. Barr may not only contribute this season, but he may be contributing as a starter, beginning in Week 1.

1. Vikings Could Be Dark Horse Contenders

Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

1. Vikings Could Be Dark Horse Contenders

Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings
Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Call me crazy, but I have actually been very impressed with what the Vikings have shown so far, and truly believe the team can contend for a playoff spot. Seemingly every young player is improving and Norv Turner will make the offense less predictable. Zimmer has given Adrian Peterson hope and Vikings fans should have hope too.

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+