EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings draft picks, undrafted free agents and players invited on a tryout basis held their first walk-through practice Friday morning at Winter Park.
They arrived Thursday and are scheduled to participate in a three-day rookie minicamp that will include multiple meetings and practices. The first practice will be Friday afternoon.
After the morning on-field session, first-round pick Laquon Treadwell, second-round selection Mackensie Alexander and German-born Moritz Boehringer, a historic sixth-round pick, spoke to Twin Cities media about their transitions to the Vikings.
Treadwell, Alexander and **fellow draft picks** Willie Beavers, Kentrell Brothers, David Morgan II, Stephen Weatherly and Jayron Kearse have gone through and extensive months-long process between their final college games to last weekend's draft. Boehringer surged onto NFL scouts' radar early last month.
To say they're excited to get back to football is a colossal understatement.
"This is what we all have been waiting on, just to get back and play football and get to business," said Treadwell, the receiver's white No. 11 practice jersey already tinged with grass stains.
"I took a slide for a ball," Treadwell said with a laugh. "I was running a route and took a slide and tried to make a play."
Alexander, a defensive back, will have the comfort of knowing Kearse, a safety, since youth leagues. They teamed together at Clemson and are now ready to learn from the tutelage of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer, dubbed by 2015 first-round pick Trae Waynes as a "DB guru" last year.
"It's going to be smooth," Alexander said. "Coach Zimmer is a defensive-minded guy, so he understands putting guys in situations to make plays.
"The DBs we already have here are really good, so to jump in that pool and compete and get to know those guys is going to be good," Alexander added. "I need that around me, and Coach Zimmer is a hard-nosed coach. He's going to make you earn everything. My whole life I've had to earn it, so for me to be here is lovely. It's not a transition for me to earn anything. I'm going to come get it."
Even in the weeks leading up to the draft, Alexander returned to his hometown of Immokalee, Florida, to help his Haitian-born parents pick oranges.
While Friday marked the first NFL practice for all the rookies, it was even more of a significant transition for Boehringer, who first discovered American football through watching Adrian Peterson highlights about five years ago.
"I definitely have to get used to the speed – it's more [up]-tempo," Boehringer said. "I think the offense is new to everyone, so that's kind of good for me. But for general football knowledge, I can do some work."
Boehringer became the first player to be drafted into the NFL straight from Europe last week. Just eight days later and more than 4,000 miles from home, the German wide receiver is back where he feels most comfortable – on a football field.
"Now it's finally time to work," Boehringer said. "That's what I wanted."