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 mlb.com 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

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