What Is An OTA?

Posted May 28, 2014

The Vikings take their next step in head coach Mike Zimmer’s first offseason program today by launching their first set of Organized Team Activities (OTAs). So what is an OTA, exactly?

They may vary from team-to-team, but generally speaking an OTA is a voluntary offseason practice that occurs in Phase 3 of the offseason program. It’s not the same type of practice teams conduct during training camp or during the regular season because A) practices during training camp and the regular season are not voluntary and B) there are restrictions in terms of permissible contact drills for OTAs. The Collective Bargaining Agreement mandates the following in Phase 3 (and OTAs):

-- No live contact
-- All coaches permitted on field
-- No individual offense vs. defense permitted
-- Kicking team vs. return team and team offense vs. team defense permitted
-- Helmets permitted

Essentially, OTAs focus on orientating players to the schemes and plays the team will use during the regular season.

A standard OTA schedule may allow time for the following…
-- Breakfast and lunch
-- Weight lifting
-- Meetings (special teams, team, position, rookie orientation)
-- On-field practice

During Phase 3 of the offseason program, the rules established within the CBA permit a team to conduct a series of 10 voluntary Organized Team Activities (OTAs). The team may conduct a maximum of three days of OTAs during each of the first two weeks of Phase 3 and a maximum of four days of OTAs during either the third or fourth week of Phase 3, with the mandatory minicamp to be held during the other week.

The Vikings have decided to schedule their OTAs as such:

OTAs 1-3: May 28-30
OTAs 4-6: June 3-5
OTAs 7-10: June 9-12
Mandatory Mini-Camp: June 17-19