Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Presented by

Monday Morning Mailbag: Initial Impressions from Rookie Minicamp

Do you have a comment or question? Send it to the Mailbag! Every Monday we'll post several comments and/or questions as part of the Monday Morning Mailbag. Although we can't post every comment or question, we will reply to every question submitted.

Click here to submit a comment or question to the Mailbag. Remember to include your name and town in the email. If Twitter is your jam, you can send a question to me that way as well.

After participating in rookie minicamp over the weekend, the Vikings 2024 draft class and undrafted free agents are joining veterans today for the third week of Phase 2 of the voluntary offseason workout program.

The enlarged group will advance to Phase 3 (Organized Team Activity practices) next week.

The rookie minicamp practice sessions — Friday was open to media and Saturday was closed — provided the group with its first taste of NFL on-field action.

Even though Head Coach Kevin O'Connell purposefully capped the intensity level, there were some competitive snaps in 7-on-7.

First-round picks J.J. McCarthy and Dallas Turner each participated in press conferences after Friday's practice. Make sure to check those out if you haven't already.

McCarthy showed up early to walk through the script and kept his word to teammates by running gassers at the end of practice. He had participated in a private workout with Vikings coaches before the draft but relished the opportunity to join his Vikings classmates.

Turner described seeing a mom and child with a backpack leash at a public venue to illustrate the limited nature of Friday's practice. His humorous explanation still has me laughing, and it was very befitting as part of Mother's Day Weekend.

The national media says J.J. can win the starting role over Sam Darnold. Is that accurate? Seems like sitting J.J. at least one season to learn the ins and outs of the NFL makes sense. What is your opinion?

Thank you from California.

— Mike Griffith


With all the hype over McCarthy, is there any chance that Darnold is our next long-term QB?

— Unsigned

Publicity and promotion of the draft seems to get bigger every year, and the momentum continues after the selections are made.

There are good reasons for high interest in McCarthy around Minnesota and beyond, and some might see that as hype or at least a way-too-early speculation, particularly by people who won't be involved in quarterback decisions.

We want to further introduce all the Vikings offseason additions (including McCarthy and Darnold) to our audience as we progress through the offseason.

O'Connell and the Vikings will be as detailed as they were in evaluating this year's class of quarterbacks when they develop new and returning players in this system.

O'Connell and General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah have repeatedly said how they are excited to work with Darnold. That will ramp up during Phase 3 and a mandatory minicamp in June.

They also are obviously excited to add McCarthy to the team.

Darnold agreed to join the Vikings knowing there was a good possibility the team could use a high draft pick on a quarterback. He's seen plenty during his career and is approaching the situation with professionalism.

Darnold and McCarthy will keep working to be the best versions of themselves, and the Vikings will evaluate what is best for the team.

I'm interested in watching both players at upcoming practices.

Something I don't hear a lot about is the overhaul of the defense. We now have the pieces to be able to finish games and not fall off at the end of the year, more rotational pieces. The defense will be able to manage the game better. I'm excited to see all the new pieces come together to win games. Thanks for listening.

— Dennis Kreitel (SoCal Vikings Club)

Offense gets more of the attention, but I'll join Dennis' excitement regarding what the Vikings have been able to add for the second year under Defensive Coordinator Brian Flores.

We'll definitely be checking in with defensive players throughout the offseason program, but we likely won't know all that Flores has in store until Week 1.

He also showed adaptability and creativity in game-planning against specific foes last season. Now, he's the opportunity to vary his attack even more.

Coming from a lifelong Vikings fan, the rest of the draft I think couldn't have been better. The improvements on defense, offense and special teams are huge. You most likely won't be able to recognize this team going into the 2024 season. I personally don't think we can win a Super Bowl this year, but I see it in the near future SKOL!

— Aleksander Preston in White Bear Lake, Minnesota

The Vikings were able to add five players on the third day of the draft to add to the offensive line (Walter Rouse and Michael Jurgens), defensive line (Levi Drake Rodriguez), cornerback (Khyree Jackson) and kicker (Will Reichard) positions.

The roster looks quite different than it did two years ago, so we'll do our best at Vikings Entertainment Network to relay content that helps people get to know all the newcomers in greater detail.

The reasons the Vikings had for making those selections were grounded. Now it will be up to the players (and the coaching staff) to prove those decisions right.

As a life-long Vikings fan since 1968 I have enjoyed reading the comments and perspectives in Monday MM since I learned of it back in, I'd guestimate 2015. Occasionally I have my own question. While this issue won't come to surface for another year, it has been eating at me.

Having only four picks and none in the second or third round next year seems counterproductive for the development of a strong, YOUNG core. So I've got to ask: are there currently any viable strategies going forward that will allow Kwesi to recoup those losses and inject the team with young talent??

Life-long Vikings supporter.

— Jeff Nussbaumer in Littleton, Colorado

Jeff is correct that right now the Vikings don't have a second- or third-round pick for 2025, but that is in part because the NFL has not assigned compensatory picks for what happened in free agency this year. That assignment won't happen until next year.

Minnesota is expected to receive a third-round compensatory pick through the formula used by the NFL. That selection will result from Atlanta signing Kirk Cousins.

There are a few things that could lead to more selections. Adofo-Mensah has executed in-season trades in each of the past two seasons. That could lead to a gain in picks, but it's hard to say if a second- or third-round pick would be directly involved. Nonetheless, acquiring more picks could lead to a package of selections being used to move up.

We also won't know where the Vikings will be selecting from with their first-round pick in 2025, but we do know that Minnesota was able to draft McCarthy and Turner while keeping that first-round selection in the cupboard. There's always a possibility that moving down could lead to an increase in selections in the second or third round.

The other caveat that is removed from draft picks is the potential impact of the players added during free agency this year (or next as Minnesota has been creating future cap space). If players who signed multi-year contracts are able to deliver, then there might be fewer perceived gaps to address with a high volume of picks.

View photos of Vikings players during rookie minicamp practice on May 10 at the TCO Performance Center.

What do you think is the over/under wins for the Vikings this year? 8...10...?

Also how do you think our defensive scheme will change now with Dallas Turner and other draftees.

— (Your always loyal Vikings Fan) Graham Van Wyk

Projecting a win total is not my forte.

I also don't think it's in the best interest of anyone for someone who works for a sports team to predict future win totals. But in appreciation of your support, I'll look backward to try to add a little to the conversation.

In 2022, an external source that specializes in that put Minnesota's Over/Under at 8.5 wins. The squad proceeded to win 13.

In 2023, the same source projected the same Over/Under of 8.5 wins, and Minnesota wound up going 7-10. There were probably some people highly interested after Minnesota won five consecutive games to improve to 6-4 with seven games remaining.

As for Turner, O'Connell was asked about the plan for Turner.

"It's just getting comfortable, you know, in that home position on the edge as an outside linebacker," O'Connell said. "Once you can kind of build that comfort, then you can begin to stress him snap in and snap out where he's lining up in some different spots, doing some different jobs depending on down and distance, who else is in the game with?

"I mean, think about Andrew Van Ginkel in the same way where the versatility to do multiple jobs, and then you've got JG (Jonathan Greenard) that has the ability to rush inside and out," O'Connell added. "Now, pair those guys with some interior rush as well, and you start to see a third-down package start to materialize."