Vikings planning as if year is starting

  • Article by: JUDD ZULGAD and CHIP SCOGGINS , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: April 29, 2011 - 1:14 AM

If the NFL's appeal fails, the team is preparing to hit the ground running.

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Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe

Photo: Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune file

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The Vikings don't know if the NFL's new league year will begin in coming days, but they were making plans Thursday. The coaches informed players that offseason workouts are tentatively set to begin Monday at Winter Park.

"I'm coming to work out every day that we are allowed," tight end Visanthe Shiancoe said in a text. "I can't wait!"

The NFL requested a stay from the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on the decision by U.S. District Judge Susan Richard Nelson to end the lockout. The league is prepared to move forward with starting its new year if it does not get a favorable ruling, and is mandating that players be permitted to use team facilities for physical examinations, rehabilitation and medical treatment Friday.

Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said he never expected to be meeting with coach Leslie Frazier, team owners and other key executives hours before the start of the draft to discuss how to proceed with the current players on the roster.

"It's just another exciting part of the day," Spielman said.

The Vikings would have the ability to begin conducting Organized Team Activities (OTAs) next week if the stay is not granted. Frazier and his coaching staff contacted players Thursday to let them know that they can return to Winter Park for workouts.

"We've already begun the process, introducing them to the fact that we're open for business," Frazier said. "We'd like to begin to look towards minicamps and OTAs and we're waiting on some word regarding that, but right now we are making plans to put in place some OTAs and minicamps."

Players most likely to make a quick arrival are those with workout bonuses.

The team has seven players who have six-figure bonuses: defensive tackle Kevin Williams ($500,000), left tackle Bryant McKinnie ($250,000), wide receiver Bernard Berrian ($100,000), linebacker E.J. Henderson ($100,000), right guard Anthony Herrera ($100,000), safety Madieu Williams ($100,000) and Shiancoe ($100,000). Ten players have five-figure bonuses.

If the league goes back to working under the 2010 collective bargaining agreement, the Vikings also will be able to conduct two mandatory minicamps.

Linebacker Chad Greenway showed up Thursday, staying a half-hour to talk to strength coaches, but was not allowed to work out.

"I went down to the weight room before I got changed," Greenway said. "The strength coaches were just getting there and they said that they didn't know what we could do. I was called by [vice president of football operations] Rob Brzezinski. He said, 'You can hang out as long as you want and we want you to be around, but we don't know what rules to go under so there's no workouts available today."

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