Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

Vikings begin first OTA session minus three Pac-12 draft choices

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: May 28, 2014 - 9:49 AM

Almost two months into their offseason program, the Vikings begin their first OTA on Wednesday and stretches until Friday. They’re one of six teams to begin their first session on Wednesday.

Per the NFL collective bargaining agreement, teams can participate in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills but they can’t take part in any live contact drills during OTAs to limit the risk of injury.

It’s a voluntary session, and we’ll get a better understanding of which players are participating on Thursday when practice is open to the media. Just about every player attended the voluntary veteran minicamp in April right before the NFL Draft to try and get a grasp of new Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer, his staff and his scheme. It would be just as beneficial for players to attend the OTAs.

A few rookies will be absent however and not by choice. UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr, Oregon State Scott Crichton and Stanford guard David Yankey are limited by NFL rules to remain on campus until they conclude their college finals. More on that here.

Barr’s absence is most notable not because he was the Vikings’ highest draft pick (ninth overall) but due to the competition at linebacker. While we looked at the quarterback battle on Tuesday, it’ll be interesting to see what Zimmer will do at linebacker during OTAs.

We know Chad Greenway will be used as a starter somewhere but the rest is unknown. Some questions could get answered during OTAs, but the situation may look different once Barr is on the field during minicamp next month. 

Along with Barr, who spent his only two seasons at linebacker in a 3-4 scheme in college, Jasper Brinkley, Audie Cole, Gerald Hodges and Michael Mauti will be among some of the names fighting for the other two starting spots.

Here’s the rest of the Vikings’ OTA and minicamp dates:

OTAs: June 3-5 (second session), June 9-12 (third session)

Minicamp: June 17-19


St. Louis 5
Pittsburgh 4 FINAL
Minnesota 2
St. Louis 1 FINAL
Washington 1
Boston - LP: C. Buchholz 2 FINAL
Atlanta - WP: J. Teheran 4
NY Yankees 10 FINAL
Philadelphia 0
Tampa Bay 0 Cancelled
Baltimore 0
Detroit 1 FINAL
Toronto 4
Chicago WSox 3 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 6
Texas 6 FINAL
Oakland 7
Cleveland 2 FINAL
Arizona 3
Arizona 7 FINAL
LA Angels 2
Miami 0 Cancelled
Houston 0
Seattle - LP: J. Paxton 1 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: Y. Ventura 5
San Francisco 8 FINAL
Los Angeles 4
Colorado 5 FINAL
San Diego 7
Milwaukee 8 FINAL
Cincinnati 6
Detroit 111 FINAL
Orlando 97
LA Clippers 119 FINAL
Philadelphia 98
Charlotte 107 FINAL
Washington 110
Boston 96 FINAL
New York 92
Cleveland 98 FINAL
Brooklyn 106
LA Lakers 83 FINAL
Toronto 94
Miami 86 FINAL
Atlanta 99
Golden State 107 FINAL
Memphis 84
Sacramento 88 FINAL
New Orleans 102
Minnesota 110 FINAL
Houston 120
Dallas 76 FINAL
San Antonio 94
Utah 91 FINAL
Denver 107
Portland 87 FINAL
Phoenix 81
Calgary 2 FINAL
Minnesota 4
Columbus 5 FINAL
Chicago 2
Dallas 0 FINAL
Edmonton 4
Gonzaga 74
NC State 65 FINAL
Louisville 75
Utah 57 FINAL
Duke 63
Kent State 73 FINAL
Northern Ariz 74
Michigan State 62 FINAL
Oklahoma 58
(15) North Carolina 65 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 67
(18) Iowa 66 FINAL
(5) Baylor 81
(9) Arizona State 65 FINAL
(7) Florida State 66
(14) Stanford 60 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 81


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