3 Observations from Initial OTAs: Viking Unveil New-Look Offensive Line

EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings are on the path to the 2019 season as they held their second Organized Team Activity practice on Wednesday at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.

Practice was moved indoors because of weather as players wore helmets, shells and shorts for the almost 2-hour session.

Minnesota is scheduled to hold 10 total OTA practices over the span of three weeks before hosting a mandatory minicamp from June 11-13.

Here are three observations from Wednesday morning’s session:

1. New look up front

Much of the talk of the Vikings offseason included pouring resources into the offensive line. With Wednesday’s session open to the media, the Vikings showed off a new look up front.

Riley Reiff was in his usual left tackle spot, while Pat Elflein was at left guard after playing center the previous two seasons. Rookie first-round pick Garrett Bradbury was at center while free-agent addition Josh Kline was at right guard. Brian O’Neill did not practice, so Rashod Hill was at right tackle.

The second-team offensive line, from left to right, consisted of: Aviante Collins, Dakota Dozier, Brett Jones, Danny Isidora and Storm Norton.

With O’Neill’s absence, the Vikings were down to 14 total linemen. Collins took snaps at right tackle with the third-team offense, and was joined by John Keenoy, Cornelius Edison, Dru Samia and Olisaemeka Udoh.

2. Wide receiver depth looks good

While Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs sit atop the depth chart at wide receiver, there is an opportunity for the group behind them.

Numerous players stepped up Wednesday, including rookie seventh-rounders Dillon Mitchell and Bisi Johnson. Mitchell showed off his quickness in 1-on-1 drills, while Johnson hauled in a roughly 50-yard pass from quarterback Jake Browning in team drills.

Chad Beebe and Brandon Zylstra, two players who return from 2018, also impressed in individual and team drills. Beebe made a nice sideline snag in front of Mackensie Alexander, and Zylstra hauled in multiple catches throughput practice.

Newcomer Jordan Taylor, who was previously with Denver, spent some time running with the first-team offense, while 2018 practice squad player Jeff Badet hauled in a 65-yard touchdown from quarterback Kirk Cousins in a team drill toward the end of practice.

3. Offense, defense trade barbs

Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer closed the session with a prolonged late-game situation on Wednesday. Zimmer gave his first-team offense the ball and against the defensive starters with the score tied at 7 and four minutes on the clock.

The drive started in fine fashion with Thielen making an acrobatic catch down the left sideline to beat Xavier Rhodes for a 34-yard gain.

But the defense stood tall after that, holding the offense to 2 yards on the next three plays to force a punt. Rhodes came back and broke up a pass over the middle for Badet on third down to end the threat.

The second and third-team units then took the field but couldn’t get into scoring range.

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