3 Observations: Offensive Line Combos, Kick Returns & Defending Passes

Posted May 30, 2017

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings kicked off the second week of Organized Team Activity practices on Tuesday morning at Winter Park.

The Vikings practiced in helmets and shorts for approximately 90 minutes. The session had an autumn feel as temperatures were in the low 50s with blustery winds.

The session was Minnesota’s first of three practices this week. The Vikings will have six more practices throughout OTAs, which run through next week. The Vikings will then hold a mandatory minicamp from June 13-15.

Here are three observations from Tuesday’s session:

1. Eyeing the offensive line

The Vikings have penciled in the same five offensive linemen on the first-team unit through the first four OTA practices.

Riley Reiff, an offseason free agent signing, has lined up at left tackle next to left guard Alex Boone, who is in his second season in Minnesota. Nick Easton has taken early reps at center, and Joe Berger has shifted over to right guard — a combination the Vikings used at the end of the 2016 season. Mike Remmers, another free agent acquisition, has been the first-team right tackle.

The Vikings second-team unit has been left tackle Rashod Hill, left guard Jeremiah Sirles, center Pat Elflein, right guard Zac Kerin and right tackle T.J. Clemmings.

2. Reps for returners

Minnesota worked on kickoff returns for the first time during OTAs, giving a handful of players a chance to showcase their skills early on in 2017. 

Jerick McKinnon, Rodney Adams, Dalvin Cook and Marcus Sherels were the quartet that returned kicks in drills.

Sherels is the most experienced of the group with 40 career kickoff returns, while McKinnon has just one. Adams and Cook are rookies with no professional experience.

3. Defense impresses late

The chilly conditions suited the Vikings defense just fine Tuesday, especially during a 7-on-7 drill late in practice.

The unit looked strong on a sequence of plays that started with cornerback Xavier Rhodes swatting away a pass intended for Laquon Treadwell. Cornerback Tre Roberson then batted away a pass before causing an incompletion on a deep pass to wide receiver Cayleb Jones.

Eric Kendricks had the quirkiest play of the day when the linebacker grabbed a pass that bounced off his own foot. With no options open and a receiver in the area, Sam Bradford aimed to throw the ball into the ground to end the rep, but Kendricks corralled it and went the other way.