EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The Vikings have wrapped up the 2017 Organized Team Activity Practices and will have a few days to rest before the start of a three-day mandatory minicamp at Winter Park that starts next Tuesday.
Throughout 10 OTA practices, Vikings.com caught up with players – both former and current – and filmed media sessions with coaches.
Here are 10 quotes to remember from the Vikings 2017 OTAs:
Zimmer on seeing Teddy's rehab
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer returned for the last week of practices after missing the first two weeks to rest and recover from his eighth eye procedure since last fall. When he returned on June 5, he was impressed by 's rehab on the sidelines.
"Sometimes when you see a guy every day, you don't notice the progress that he's made," Zimmer said. "I'm gone for two weeks and he, obviously, isn't on the tape. So, I come back and I said, 'Wow, Teddy, he's moving better.' Quite a bit better, in my opinion. But, he's still got a long way to go. I think he's happy with the progress. I know he's very impatient about wanting to get out there and go. But, we have to do it within the best interest of him in the long run. At the end, the final say is going to be from the doctors."
Bradford on the development of the offense
Quarterback Sam Bradford spoke to members of the media during the 12th annual Vikings Playground Build. Bradford discussed working with Pat Shurmur as his offensive coordinator for the third time in their careers and said he likes the progress of the offense.
"I think it's really hard to compare teams year to year, different teams, different systems, things like that, but obviously I feel really good," Bradford said. "With the pieces we have right now, I think we have a chance to be a really good offense. Obviously, we still have some work to do, and we're trying to do that right now and build on that, but I think everyone in our building feels really good about the pieces that we have."
Rhodes on Zimmer staying in contact when he was gone
Vikings cornerback Xavier Rhodes kept in touch with Zimmer while the head coach was reviewing the practice film and resting at his ranch in Kentucky during the first two weeks of OTAs.
"When he was out, yeah, he was texting me quite a few [times]," Rhodes said. "He was correcting me on my techniques and the things I need to correct to make sure I'll be better the next day. If I want to be great, I have to look at the little things and correct the little things.
"He's always been on me," Rhodes said. "He's always telling me that I have the potential to be great. I just have to believe and listen to him."
Robert Smith on Dalvin Cook's ability
Vikings legend running back Robert Smith was at the ninth OTA practice on June 7 and spoke to the team at the end of practice. Smith, who had 6,818 career rushing yards in eight seasons in Minnesota, highlighted what he sees from the Vikings newest running back, Dalvin Cook.
"I love him as a player. Seeing him at Florida State, the ability to break the big runs, but the ability to play through nagging injuries," Smith said. "He had a hamstring [injury] a couple of years ago and had probably a 40-to-50-yard run. You could see, there was some question before the game on if he was going to play, and you could see during the run that it started to bother him and started pulling on him, but he still finished the run. That's what you need in the league."
Griffen on being a leader on defense
Vikings defensive end Everson Griffen is entering his eighth season in Minnesota and spoke about how he approaches this year as a leader of the unit.
"I think it's something that comes naturally," Griffen said. "I'm just a guy that loves this game of football, and our number one goal is to win. We're not talking about sacks, we're not talking about tackles, we are talking about winning. I think it's time that we start winning and winning for a long time."
Hodges on putting in extra work after practice
Vikings rookie tight end Bucky Hodges was the last Vikings player off of the practice field during OTA No. 8 on June 6.
"I always put in extra work," Hodges said. "It's something that has been instilled in me my whole life with my family. I'm just hungry. Nobody has to know that I'm the last one (off the practice field). I just want to make my mark on the league."
Cook on why he likes Vikings offense and his best skill overall
Cook, whom Minnesota selected 41st overall, spoke midway through OTA practices about adjusting to life in the NFL and how he sees his skills fitting into the Vikings offensive scheme.
"Just the scheme overall," Cook said. "We run inside and outside, and that was something that I did in college – that's why I enjoy doing it. They are letting me catch the ball out of the backfield (too). In college, my vision, they put me in the place to make the places. As long as I keep getting better every day and working on my craft, I will continue to make those plays. I think that's why the organization brought me in. I think my vision is the key to everything."
Thielen on running precise routes
Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen is coming off of a career year of 967 receiving yards as the team's leading target. In his fourth offseason with the team, he is still working on improving his route running in OTAs.
"I learned early on in my career watching Greg Jennings, and honestly all of the receivers when I first came in, just watching the way that they get open," Thielen said. "In this league, open is not much separation, and so you have to be a technician. You have to be good with your routes, and on top of your routes, getting in and out of your breaks. You have to do that to succeed in this league. Even sometimes when you run a bad route, as long as you can create a little separation on the top of your route, you can open, so it is obviously something I am working on every day."
Elflein on what he approaches the same as in college, high school
Third-round draft pick Pat Elflein took on a lot of responsibility when he received reps at center with the first unit during OTAs.
"What I am trying to approach the same way is to do what got myself here. From high school to college to here, it's just flat-out hard work and taking care of yourself," Elflein said. "You don't have to to do anything special out here to compete with the best in the world, the top one percent. I just try to get back to what got me here, and it's just working really hard every day. That's the same approach I am taking to this next level."
Shurmur on Treadwell's progress
When Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur took to the podium following the first few OTAs, he talked about the progress of Vikings second-year wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
"He came back, and he was really on point with what he's supposed to be doing mentally," Shurmur said. "He's been out here competing and doing a nice job running routes and catching the ball. Understanding where he fits in the running game and who to block. To this point, we've been really pleased with his progress based on a year ago."