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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Tampa 6 FINAL
Philadelphia 2
LA Clippers 96 FINAL
Chicago 86
Cleveland 103 FINAL
Houston 105
Golden State 49 3rd Qtr
Boston 65
Philadelphia 40 2nd Qtr 2:41
Indiana 56
Portland 64 2nd Qtr 0:02
Sacramento 49
Charlotte 43 3rd Qtr
Orlando 42
Oklahoma City 28 2nd Qtr
LA Lakers 19
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 2 FINAL
Winnipeg 5
Tampa Bay 1 3rd Prd 13:14
Florida 4
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Pittsburgh 5
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 73 FINAL
Connecticut 81
Quinnipiac 65 FINAL
Manhattan 69
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Saint Peters 68
Oregon State 56 FINAL
California 73
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Houston 72
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Providence 77
Michigan State 61 FINAL
Wisconsin 68
Siena 57 FINAL
Monmouth 63
Pittsburgh 28 1st Half 1:50
Wake Forest 32
Oregon 4 1st Half 15:46
Stanford 5
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 66 FINAL
Providence 81
Binghamton 50 FINAL
UMBC 73
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Hofstra 58
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Boston College 49
(8) Louisville 59 FINAL
Virginia 75
Texas 69 FINAL
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Villanova 61
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Coll of Charleston 65
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(25) Northwestern 48
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VA Commonwealth 49
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(22) George Washington 80
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(20) Rutgers 71
(12) Texas A&M 63 FINAL
LSU 80
Ole Miss 47 FINAL
(11) Miss State 55
Clemson 56 FINAL
Pittsburgh 61
Maine 47 FINAL
New Hampshire 61
Vermont 48 FINAL
Albany 76
Quinnipiac 87 FINAL
Monmouth 48
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Siena 64
(4) Notre Dame 67 FINAL
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Penn State 56
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Hartford 56
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Utah 41 FINAL
Arizona 64
Ohio State 78 FINAL
Nebraska 60
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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

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