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

San Francisco - WP: J. Affeldt 3 FINAL
Kansas City - LP: J. Guthrie 2
New Orleans 7:25 PM
Carolina
Tampa Bay 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cleveland
Arizona 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Philadelphia 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Houston
NY Jets 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
Jacksonville 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Cincinnati
San Diego 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Washington 11/2/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
St. Louis 11/2/14 3:05 PM
San Francisco
Denver 11/2/14 3:25 PM
New England
Oakland 11/2/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Baltimore 11/2/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
Indianapolis 11/3/14 7:30 PM
NY Giants
Milwaukee 106 FINAL
Charlotte 108
Philadelphia 91 FINAL
Indiana 103
Atlanta 102 FINAL
Toronto 109
Brooklyn 105 FINAL
Boston 121
Washington 95 FINAL
Miami 107
Chicago 104 FINAL
New York 80
Minnesota 101 FINAL
Memphis 105
Detroit 79 FINAL
Denver 89
Houston 104 FINAL
Utah 93
Golden State 95 FINAL
Sacramento 77
LA Lakers 99 FINAL
Phoenix 119
Oklahoma City 89 FINAL
Portland 106
Detroit 4 FINAL
Washington 2
Nashville 4 FINAL
Edmonton 1
(2) Florida State 6:30 PM
Louisville
Troy 6:30 PM
Ga Southern
Cincinnati 10/31/14 7:00 PM
Tulane
Tulsa 10/31/14 7:02 PM
Memphis
Air Force 11/1/14 10:30 AM
Army
ULM 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Texas A&M
(19) Oklahoma 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
Northwestern 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Iowa
(24) Duke 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Maryland 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Wisconsin 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Rutgers
Rice 11/1/14 11:00 AM
FIU
(21) East Carolina 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Temple
UCF 11/1/14 11:00 AM
Connecticut
Boston College 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Virginia Tech
North Carolina 11/1/14 11:30 AM
Miami-Florida
Washington 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Colorado
Central Mich 11/1/14 12:00 PM
Eastern Mich
Western Mich 11/1/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Western Ky 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
NC State 11/1/14 2:00 PM
Syracuse
Virginia 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Georgia Tech
Purdue 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(17) Nebraska
BYU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Middle Tennessee
(10) TCU 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(20) West Virginia
Indiana 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Michigan
Florida 11/1/14 2:30 PM
(9) Georgia
Georgia State 11/1/14 2:30 PM
Appalachian St
Kentucky 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Missouri
Kansas 11/1/14 3:00 PM
(12) Baylor
Texas State 11/1/14 3:00 PM
New Mexico St
Houston 11/1/14 3:00 PM
So Florida
USC 11/1/14 3:30 PM
Washington St
Arkansas State 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Idaho
South Alabama 11/1/14 4:00 PM
Louisiana
New Mexico 11/1/14 4:30 PM
UNLV
UAB 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Fla Atlantic
(4) Auburn 11/1/14 6:00 PM
(7) Ole Miss
Old Dominion 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Vanderbilt
Colorado State 11/1/14 6:00 PM
San Jose St
Arkansas 11/1/14 6:15 PM
(1) Miss State
Stanford 11/1/14 6:30 PM
(5) Oregon
Tennessee 11/1/14 6:30 PM
So Carolina
Texas 11/1/14 6:30 PM
Texas Tech
Southern Miss 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
(6) Notre Dame 11/1/14 7:00 PM
Navy
Oklahoma State 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(11) Kansas State
Illinois 11/1/14 7:00 PM
(13) Ohio State
(14) Arizona 11/1/14 9:30 PM
(25) UCLA
California 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Oregon State
San Diego St 11/1/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Wyoming 11/1/14 9:45 PM
Fresno State
(18) Utah 11/1/14 10:00 PM
(15) Arizona State
Utah State 11/1/14 10:00 PM
Hawaii
Bowling Green 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Akron
Toledo 11/4/14 7:00 PM
Kent State
Buffalo 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ohio U
Northern Ill 11/5/14 7:00 PM
Ball State
Vancouver FC 1 FINAL
FC Dallas 2
Hamilton 10/31/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Winnipeg 11/1/14 3:00 PM
Calgary
Brt Columbia 11/1/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Toronto 11/2/14 11:00 AM
Montreal
Ottawa 11/7/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Calgary 11/7/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Montreal 11/8/14 3:00 PM
Hamilton
Edmonton 11/8/14 6:00 PM
Saskatchewan
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 Noon
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago Noon
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay Noon
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina Noon
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets Noon
Dec 14 - at Detroit Noon
Dec 21 - at Miami Noon
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close