MANKATO – In the old days, having three first-round draft picks could have meant a month or more of Vikings holdout stories coming from the fields of Minnesota State.
Thank you, rookie salary cap.
In today’s NFL, the new norm looks like Thursday did. Long before the 4 p.m. deadline to report for training camp, the Vikings signed defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, cornerback Xavier Rhodes and receiver Cordarrelle Patterson in rapid-fire succession. It was still hours before they, along with the other rookies and younger players, would be bused to Mankato.
Coach Leslie Frazier was driving to Mankato when he got a text from General Manager Rick Spielman with the news that all nine draft picks were now signed. All three first-round picks are expected to either start or play a significant role on a team that went 10-6 and made the playoffs a year ago.
“Holdouts are becoming a thing of the past,” Frazier said. “[The rookie salary cap] is working out for both parties, it seems. [Holdouts in the past] definitely had a negative effect. Say your No. 1 pick ends up missing most of training camp and most of the preseason, it’s kind of a bummer for the entire team. As much as you try to eliminate distraction in our business, that becomes a distraction.”
McCarthy jabs back
Packers coach Mike McCarthy doesn’t sound too concerned with the verbal jabs that former Packer and current Viking Greg Jennings has been taking at Aaron Rodgers.
Responding to a reporter’s question about Jennings’ latest comments in Thursday’s Star Tribune implying that Rodgers acts as if he’s bigger than the team, McCarthy joked, “When you put on that purple, something happens to you.”
Childs starts out on PUP
Frazier said the only player expected to start training camp on the physically unable to perform list is receiver Greg Childs, who is trying to come back from tearing the patellar tendons in both knees in training camp a year ago.
That’s good news because of who was not on the PUP list: starting center John Sullivan, coming off offseason microfracture knee surgery, and rookie linebacker Michael Mauti, coming back from a third torn anterior cruciate ligament in the past four years. Neither participated in team offseason drills.
Frazier said the Vikings will limit Sullivan’s reps but don’t anticipate him not playing in the preseason.
Per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, the Vikings won’t be in pads for the first two practices on Friday and Saturday. They’re off Sunday and will put on the pads Monday.
How to handle Peterson
A year ago, running back Adrian Peterson didn’t play a snap in the preseason. He ran for 2,097 yards and won league MVP.
So now that he’s healthy, what can we expect to see from Peterson in the preseason?
“You probably won’t see Adrian get a whole lot of carries in the preseason,” Frazier said. “He’ll get some opportunities in the preseason, but his workload will come when we kick off the season, not the preseason.”
Sanford secure at safety?
The Vikings value strong safety Jamarca Sanford, a career overachiever and former seventh-round draft pick. But they’re always trying to get someone taller, faster and higher up the draft board to take his starting job.
Last year, Mistral Raymond took it, lost it because of injury, got healthy and then couldn’t get it back because Sanford wouldn’t let go of it.
This year, Raymond and second-year pro Robert Blanton will challenge Sanford. Sanford, however, appears to be digging in not only skill-wise but from a leadership standpoint as well.
“He’s become a verbal leader for us [this offseason],” Frazier said. “We kind of need that. It’s great to have guys who lead by example, but sometimes you need a guy who can get after people a little bit, too, and then back it up with his play.”