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:
Day 1. The road to Arizona starts today!— Kyle Rudolph (@KyleRudolph82) April 7, 2014
Let's go start the journey!!!— Brian Robison (@Brian_Robison) April 7, 2014
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