On-field drills at the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine don't begin until Friday, but the action was fast and furious inside the media center and on radio row at Lucas Oil Stadium on Wednesday.
1. Everyone is talking about Adrian PetersonThe NFL world descends on Indianapolis for the Combine, but most of the buzz for the first few days is in the media center and is focused on non-draft related issues. For some teams, it's about the new head coach or GM that was recently hired. For others, it's about the franchise tag or the upcoming free agency period.
For the Vikings, it's Adrian Peterson. Everyone we spoke with on Wednesday at Lucas Oil Stadium, from ESPN NFL Insiders Chris Mortensen, Sal Paolantonio and Adam Schefter to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, said the Peterson situation is the Vikings A topic at this stage of the offseason.
"I think he's coming back, to the Vikings," Paolantonio said. "All signs point to that. I think it's pretty clear that when you hear the kinds of things you're hearing out of Spielman and just talking to some members of your organization on background here in Indianapolis, they are trying to make it more comfortable for people to understand from a public relations standpoint, that 'We're going to give this guy a second chance.'"
Paolantonio had much more interesting insight into the Peterson situation, coming from a "how will the public react" standpoint and you can hear all of his thoughts by watching the full interview here.
2. And everyone thinks Teddy Bridgewater is going to be goodIt's tough to get a consensus from the national media on what will happen with Peterson. Schefter said it was a big question, yet Paolantonio and many others seemed to think he'll be back. It's far easier to get national media to come to a consensus on QB Teddy Bridgewater.
After his debut season, Bridgewater's stock is high. Rapoport was among the most bullish on the Vikings young passer.
"The Vikings are going to end up with a quarterback who can be the face of their franchise for a long time," the Rapoport said. "We certainly saw glimpses, more than glimpses, of that last year. It's not the finished product, it's not going to be for a little bit of time, but the materials are there for this to be a very, very good thing for the Vikings."
"What we saw from Teddy over and over, was in crucial, clutch situations where the pressure's high, he was fine. He was chill. It's the strangest thing. And you guys know better than I when you're around him all the time, he's like that. He's just very relaxed. The bigger the moment gets, it seems the more chill he is. And you can talk about talent and arm strength and mobility and intelligence and all of that and that's all important, but how cool he is in the moment is the thing that I think is going to take him to the next level for years to come."
3. ESPN's Mortensen is high on Zimmer, VikingsThe Vikings finished 2014 looking up in the standings at both Green Bay and Detroit, but one ESPN NFL Insider feels the Vikings are a team on the rise, thanks primarily to head coach Mike Zimmer.
"Well, I was upbeat about the Vikings from the day they hired Mike Zimmer and I saw him put his staff together," Mortensen said. "Obviously, having a guy like Norv Turner on board as offensive coordinator…so to me the Vikings are a team on the rise. That sounds like a cliché but I actually believe it."
To get over the hump in the NFC North, Mortensen says, the Vikings focus should be just as much on under-the-radar issues as the issue everyone else is talking about (Peterson).
"You've got to build your roster," Mortensen said. "One thing I've always learned about the Patriots going back to when they started this run, which was not supposed to be done in this era of free agency, is you are always building your roster and it's the back end of your roster that is as important as the front end. That's the depth.
"Development. Young players. You've got to be willing to play young players. I think Zim is. You know on offense, another year with Teddy Bridgewater. The status of Adrian Peterson clearly to me is a key as to whether this team actually can contend in the NFC North or not."
4. High praise for WR Charles JohnsonVikings GM Rick Spielman was asked about WR Charles Johnson during his annual Combine press conference and he sounded pleased with what the former Cleveland Browns practice squader was able to do in Minnesota this past season. Vikings Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner took it a step further, calling Johnson the team’s best receiver while speaking with Tony Grossi of ESPNCleveland.com.
5. Running Back group is deep this yearSpielman likes to hold his cards close to the vest, particularly when it comes to the draft. So when he indicates a particular position is especially strong, it's notable.
"I think the running backs, as I stated last month and even verified it even more once we got through the draft meetings, it's one of the deepest running back draft classes I can remember in a while," Spielman said.
One of the running backs in this year's class is former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher David Cobb. He is not in NFL Network Mike Mayock's top five RBs and he is ranked as the seventh-best RB in ESPN Insider's rankings.
Cobb and the rest of the RB class will come through the media center on Thursday.