Vikings' hectic preseason about to begin

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG and JUDD ZULGAD , Star Tribune staff writers
  • Updated: July 26, 2011 - 11:32 AM

The Vikings must fill several roster holes in a compressed timetable after the lockout disrupted business as usual.

Let the chaos commence.

All the twists and turns of a typical NFL offseason will be shoehorned into a tiny, atypical timeline that will rapidly reshape rosters, dispatch hundreds of free agents to and fro and provide a delightful sensory overload to giddy football fans celebrating the settlement that ended the league's four-month lockout on Monday.

"The fans are happy, the players are happy," Arizona Cardinals receiver and Minneapolis native Larry Fitzgerald Jr. said. "Now we can all move forward."

And what a whirlwind pace it promises to be on the eve of training camps opening. Teams reportedly can make trades and sign rookies and undrafted free agents beginning at 9 a.m. Tuesday. They also can negotiate with veteran free agents beginning Tuesday, but can't sign anyone until 5 p.m. Friday.

No team in the league has more on its plate than the Vikings. Besides breaking in a new head coach, three new coordinators and a new quarterback, the Vikings also are reportedly $5.1 million over the $120.4 million salary cap and have 16 unrestricted free agents, including defensive end Ray Edwards, receiver Sidney Rice, outside linebacker Ben Leber, nose tackle Pat Williams and kicker Ryan Longwell.

Throw in the possibility of having to sign or trade for a veteran quarterback and renegotiate the contracts of linebacker Chad Greenway ($10 million salary cap number) and running back Adrian Peterson ($12.775 million) and, well, you get the idea just how chaotic things will be as the Vikings head toward Sunday's reporting date for training camp in Mankato.

"It's going to be bizarre and something that nobody in this NFL has seen before," Greenway said. "So it will be cool in a way because you may be getting key pieces to your team two, three, four weeks into training camp."

The Vikings head into camp having to learn a new offense under coordinator Bill Musgrave. Whether first-round draft pick Christian Ponder directs that offense or the team moves to trade for or sign a veteran such as Donovan McNabb or Matt Hasselbeck will have to play out quickly. Very quickly.

"We've had thousands of different conversations between [coach] Leslie [Frazier] and myself, Bill Musgrave and [quarterbacks coach] Craig Johnson," said Rick Spielman, Vikings vice president of player personnel. "We have different scenarios and a game plan in place for all the different scenarios. If we can bring in a veteran quarterback, that's what we'll do. If we can't, I know we've talked about making sure the veteran quarterback will be the right fit, too. Not only for us to potentially win ballgames if we go down that route, but also the right fit in the room for Ponder and Joe Webb and Rhett Bomar."

Defensively, the Vikings won't stray far from the Cover-2 philosophy they've employed since 2006. Frazier coordinated the defense from '07 until getting the interim head coaching job during the final six games of last season. With his interim tag removed, Frazier now entrusts the defense to his former linebackers coach Fred Pagac.

Pagac likes to blitz a little more than Frazier did. But the two of them have the kind of relationship that should make for a smoother transition on defense.

"Pug is really not new; we played for him for six games last year," Greenway said. "He's been in that position before, and I have played for him my whole career. Offensively, it will take some catching up, no doubt, but it helps when you have a good running game, and hopefully we'll have that."

With 60 players under contract, the Vikings eventually will add 30 to get up to the new roster limit of 90.

"I think to have 90 guys on the roster that this may be a revolving door every day of training camp on who's coming in, who is going," Spielman said. "It won't end. It will be a continuous motion of circulating guys in and out of here as we go through."

With so many questions, new faces and holes to fill, no team in the league was affected more adversely by the lockout than the Vikings. Whether they can overcome those unfavorable odds well enough to turn a 6-10 season into a return to the playoffs will be interesting to watch for the Purple faithful who are just glad to have football removed from the courtrooms and negotiating tables and returned to the field.

"I can't wait, man," right tackle Phil Loadholt said. "I'm just ready to get back to it."

Frazier echoed that sentiment with confidence later.

"There are a lot of different things going on, but I think we've done a great job of preparing for this moment," he said. "I don't think it's anything that makes us feel overwhelmed at all. I think we're prepared for having success."

  • NFL LOCKOUT ENDS

    Veteran free agency: Negotiations begin today, signings Friday • Training camp: Vikings report to Mankato on Sunday • Preseason opener: Aug. 13 at Tennessee

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

New England 2/1/15 5:30 PM
Seattle
Toronto 104 FINAL
Indiana 91
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Detroit 95
Milwaukee 109 FINAL
Miami 102
Memphis 109 FINAL
Dallas 90
Chicago 113 FINAL
Golden State 111
Washington 98 FINAL
LA Lakers 92
NY Rangers 1 FINAL
NY Islanders 4
Arizona 3 FINAL(SO)
Philadelphia 4
Winnipeg 3 FINAL
Pittsburgh 5
Washington 3 FINAL
Columbus 4
Tampa Bay 2 FINAL
Carolina 4
Dallas 2 FINAL
Montreal 3
Detroit 5 FINAL
Florida 4
Colorado 3 FINAL(OT)
Nashville 4
Buffalo 1 FINAL
Calgary 4
Minnesota 2 FINAL
Edmonton 1
Anaheim 4 FINAL
Vancouver 0
Ball State 47 FINAL
Akron 59
Northern Ill 46 FINAL
Bowling Green 56
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Ohio 40 FINAL
Eastern Mich 76
Xavier 66 FINAL
Georgetown 53
Vanderbilt 62 FINAL
Georgia 70
West Virginia 65 FINAL
Kansas State 59
Central Mich 53 FINAL
Kent State 63
Saint Josephs 48 FINAL
La Salle 53
Nebraska 44 FINAL
Michigan 58
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Toledo 70
Tulsa 62 FINAL
Tulane 55
George Washington 48 FINAL
VA Commonwealth 72
Pittsburgh 67 FINAL
Virginia Tech 70
Indiana State 78 FINAL
Evansville 89
Tabor College 53 FINAL
Oral Roberts 94
Florida 52 FINAL
Alabama 50
Tennessee 64 FINAL
Arkansas 69
Texas A&M 71 FINAL
Auburn 61
Baylor 53 FINAL
Oklahoma State 64
DePaul 0 Postponed
Providence 0
Michigan State 0 Postponed
Rutgers 0
Wyoming 44 FINAL
Utah State 56
Fresno State 47 FINAL
San Diego St 58
UNLV 67 FINAL
Nevada 62
SD Christian 54 FINAL
CS-Bakersfield 79
Colorado State 78 FINAL
Boise State 82
Temple 71 FINAL
UCF 54
Campbell 42 FINAL
Presbyterian 51
Coastal Carolina 65 FINAL
High Point 73
Gardner-Webb 49 FINAL
Radford 59
UNC-Asheville 58 FINAL
Liberty 62
Winthrop 63 FINAL
Longwood 62
Columbia International 33 FINAL
Charleston Southern 74
Tulane 63 FINAL
Houston 46
(3) Baylor 89 FINAL
TCU 67
Navy 49 FINAL
American Univ 59
Valparaiso 42 FINAL
Illinois-Chicago 60
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Who will win the Super Bowl?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close