Vikings coach Mike Zimmer commended his players' performance through the offseason after the team ended minicamp Thursday and began a five-week break.
"We're starting to do some things really, really good," Zimmer said. "You hate to take five weeks off, then you come back and you're not as crisp. But that's the nature of the business. The thing that I like about this team is not only do they work but they have fun out here."
Zimmer will keep an iPad nearby to evaluate film from OTAs and minicamp before the team reports to training camp July 25 in Mankato. He reminded his players to remain active during the break and stay out of trouble.
"I wanted to get to camp healthy, so that's a big thing," Zimmer said. "I want us when we come back to be where we left off. I know with some of the technical things, but we progressed so much quicker this year than this time last year because of knowing the system, knowing the terminology, knowing all the other different things."
The Vikings aim at having competition at every position. Proving your worth isn't anything new to Adam Thielen, who will take part in a stiff battle at wide receiver next month.
The undrafted product out of Minnesota State Mankato cracked the roster for the first time last year after spending 2013 on the practice squad. He finished the season strong with a big impact on special teams.
With the addition of rookie Stefon Diggs, the Vikings have six wide receivers worthy of a roster spot.
"I have more confidence now, but I still have a lot to prove," Thielen said. "I still have higher goals every year that I want to improve and raise my goals every year. It's going to be fun, and I'm looking forward to it."
Depth and youth
There were a lot of young players on the offensive line mixing in at multiple positions over the last month.
The Vikings drafted Tyrus Thompson, T.J. Clemmings and Austin Shepherd with three of their 10 draft picks this year and already had second-year guard David Yankey. Thompson and Clemmings have worked at both tackle and guard, while Shepherd has transitioned from tackle at Alabama to guard.
"We're lucky in that we have real good depth in the defensive line, so we're able to evaluate these [offensive] linemen against very good players, and it's going to be very competitive," offensive coordinator Norv Turner said.
"I think we'll come out of it with a very good starting offensive line, and I think we will have a lot better depth than we had a year ago."
A better start
Zimmer has been quick to warn the media that the players are only in shorts and T-shirts through this portion of the offseason, but he's already noticed a significant difference with Linval Joseph.
The nose tackle spent most of the offseason in 2014 recovering from shoulder surgery and then suffered a gunshot wound in August after the team's first preseason game. So far, Joseph hasn't missed any time heading into training camp next month.
"At this point in time, he looks really good to me," Zimmer said. "He's doing a lot of things right. He's a very conscientious kid, hard worker. He wants to be right all of the time, and he's a good kid."
•Linebacker Anthony Barr, right tackle Phil Loadholt and defensive end Brian Robison are expected to become full participants at the start of training camp, Zimmer said. They've all been limited due to injuries through OTAs and minicamp.
Zimmer wasn't sure about the status of cornerback Josh Robinson, who missed all three days of minicamp because of an undisclosed injury.
•The Vikings invited alumni to watch practice and take part in a cookout afterward. Those in attendance included former coach Jerry Burns and center Mick Tingelhoff, a 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.