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 offseason program kicks off

Posted by: Matt Vensel Updated: April 7, 2014 - 8:14 AM

Vikings players will get their first chance to make an impression on Mike Zimmer and his staff this week.

The Vikings on Monday will kick off their offseason workout program at Winter Park. Because they have a new head coach in Zimmer, the Vikings (and the six other NFL teams with new head coaches) are allowed to start their offseason programs two weeks before teams that have coaches returning.

During the first two weeks of the voluntary program, players are permitted to work with strength and conditioning coaches, rehab injuries and quarterbacks can throw passes to uncovered receivers. They are also allowed to talk about football with Zimmer and his staff, something they couldn't do before today.

In the second phase of the offseason program, which spans three weeks, coaches are allowed to run players through non-contact drills, but they are not yet allowed to pit offensive and defensive players against each other in individual or team drills. This phase includes their first voluntary veteran minicamp from April 28 through May 1 and their rookie minicamp, which runs from May 16-18 -- the weekend after the NFL draft.

In the third and final phase, which will last four weeks, players will be allowed to wear helmets and Zimmer can run them through offense-versus-defense team drills, but there is no live contact. The Vikings will be allowed to hold 10 organized team activities during this phase.

The offseason program will be capped off with the Vikings’ three-day mandatory minicamp, which will be held June 17-19.

While not every Vikings player will be in the building this week and for the voluntary workouts that will follow in the coming weeks, a large turnout is expected with a new coaching staff in place. Zimmer and his fellow coaches will be trying to get a feel for the players -- their abilities, personalities and work ethics -- and many players will want to start off on the right foot, especially with the draft just a few weeks away.

A couple of notable Vikings veterans seem pumped to get back to work:

Offseason dates to remember:

Start of offseason program: Today

Voluntary minicamp: April 28 through May 1

Rookie minicamp: May 16-18

OTAs: May 28-30, June 3-5 and June 9-12

Mandatory minicamp: June 17-19

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Los Angeles - LP: P. Maholm 7 FINAL
Pittsburgh - WP: V. Worley 12
San Francisco - WP: G. Kontos 9 FINAL
Philadelphia - LP: J. Manship 6
Texas - LP: N. Tepesch 1 FINAL
NY Yankees - WP: J. Francis 2
Boston - LP: J. Peavy 3 FINAL
Toronto - WP: J. Happ 7
Miami - WP: J. Turner 6 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 5
San Diego - LP: E. Stults 0 FINAL
Chicago Cubs - WP: K. Hendricks 6
Cincinnati - LP: S. LeCure 3 FINAL
Milwaukee - WP: F. Rodriguez 4
Cleveland - WP: D. Salazar 8 FINAL
Minnesota - LP: Y. Pino 2
Kansas City - WP: B. Chen 7 FINAL
Chicago WSox - LP: S. Carroll 1
Tampa Bay - WP: J. Odorizzi 7 FINAL
St. Louis - LP: A. Wainwright 2
Washington - WP: C. Stammen 7 FINAL
Colorado - LP: B. Brown 4
Detroit - LP: P. Coke 4 FINAL
Arizona - WP: E. De La Rosa 5
Houston - WP: D. Downs 3 FINAL
Oakland - LP: F. Abad 2
Baltimore - WP: M. Gonzalez 4 FINAL
LA Angels - LP: M. Morin 2
NY Mets - WP: J. deGrom 3 FINAL
Seattle - LP: E. Ramirez 1
Calgary 7/24/14 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Winnipeg 7/25/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
Ottawa 7/26/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Toronto 7/26/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Winnipeg 7/31/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Tulsa 93 FINAL
San Antonio 95
Atlanta 108 FINAL
Minnesota 112
Indiana 57 FINAL
Chicago 60
Phoenix 89 FINAL
Seattle 71
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pm
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pm
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pm
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pm
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis Noon
Sep 14 - vs. New England Noon
Sep 21 - at New Orleans Noon
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pm
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pm
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit Noon
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo Noon
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay Noon
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

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