Earlier in the offseason, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he'd like to emulate the career of all-time great Brett Favre. The two happened to meet for the first time a week ago, and thanks to a report from living legend Sid Hartman, we learned this week that Favre liked what he saw in Bridgewater's first season.
The first meeting between the two QBs happened organically when Favre stopped by Winter Park for a visit last week, but the respect the two have for each other could lead to a blossoming relationship. Bridgewater was born in 1992 amidst Favre's first year as a starting quarterback. Favre and the Packers won six straight after Bridgewater was born until facing the NFC Central champ Vikings in the season finale. It will be fun to watch the transgenerational connection between Bridgewater and Favre that is strengthened by the passion they have for the game.
Also this week, the Vikings welcomed back*Adrian Peterson to the team headquarters for the first time since September, held organized team activity practices 4-6 out of 10 total and made time to ride buses to Falcon Heights for the 10th annual Playground Build that turned into a special visit* to Falcon Heights Elementary School because of lightning near Curtiss Field.
Here are five other things we learned from the Vikings holding their fourth, fifth and sixth of 10 organized team activity practices.
Good to see Peterson, who looked better than good
Peterson received a hug from longtime equipment manager Dennis Ryan on his first few steps in the building Tuesday, and teammates told him how good it was to see him back. Within moments of hitting the practice field, Peterson looked much better than good in the offense, including some new elements.
Center John Sullivan walked off the field alongside Peterson Tuesday and told Vikings.com that the 2012 NFL MVP "looks like he's ready to be the MVP of the league again." The franchise leader in rushing yards is poised to positively impact multiple components of the offense and could help the Vikings defense by increasing the team's time of possession in 2015. Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer joked with the All-Pro about stepping in on kickoff returns, too.
A major focus for Peterson is moving forward from a mistake that he's apologized for. He earnestly answered reporters' questions Tuesday and said he thinks the Vikings "can accomplish great things."
"I'm happy where I'm at here with the Minnesota Vikings," Peterson said. "I love the coaching staff. I've said it before, I feel like as a group this is the best coaching staff that we've seen since I've been here. I like what they present. We have a young team, a hungry team, an excellent young quarterback who has a year under his belt now and we have a lot of talent. We can accomplish great things."
Growing stable of corners
With Captain Munnerlyn sidelined because of a foot injury and Xavier Rhodes attending a family commitment Thursday, the Vikings went with free agent addition Terence Newman and Josh Robinson, with the 1s at cornerback and had Jabari Price cover the slot in the nickel. They've also had first-round selection Trae Waynes working at corner and in the slot.
Newman and Robinson each had pass breakups on plays in the end zone (read more about Robinson's here). There's considerable value in the amount of snaps logged by Price and Waynes, and if anyone disagrees, they can look back on how Rhodes developed last season. After going from 31st in 2013 to seventh in pass defense last season, the Vikings want to stay in the top 10 this year and beyond and having a stable of cornerbacks.
Some feel an NFL team can never have too many cornerbacks. Head Coach Mike Zimmer loves teaching and has had plenty of success in developing cornerbacks, which should help the Vikings in a division stacked with threatening tandems of receivers.
Vikings developing DE depth
Just as the amount of snaps can help young corners, reps are helping less experienced defensive ends Justin Trattou, 2014 third-rounder Scott Crichton and 2015 third-rounder Danielle Hunter as the Vikings try to implement a rotation that may reduce the more-than-900-snaps-apiece workload of Brian Robison and Everson Griffen. Robison was still sidelined this week, but Griffen returned to the mix. OTAs are not full contact, so it's a little hard to observe who is winning along the line of scrimmage, but the reps can help younger players refine their techniques, especially the way that Trattou and Crichton are working.
Hunter made a couple of flash plays, first tipping a ball at the line of scrimmage, then corralling an interception off a tip.
Blanton running with the 1s
There was some speculation about what the Vikings might do at the safety spot opposite Harrison Smith, but Robert Blanton, who started 13 of the 15 games he played in 2014, has been with the first team.
The Vikings have been taking a look at Andrew Sendejo, Taylor Mays and Antone Exum, Jr. Undrafted rookie Anthony Harris, who had been recovering from a shoulder injury, was able to participate in activities for the first time this week.
Return specialists returning?
In spite of Priefer's joke about Peterson jumping in to field kickoffs, he was serious about his belief in Cordarrelle Patterson returning kickoffs and Marcus Sherels handling punts.
"In my mind, Cordarrelle Patterson is the best kickoff returner in the league," Priefer said. "It would be crazy for me to try and put someone else in that spot, but we're still bringing competition, we still want him to get better."
As for Sherels, Priefer said the former Golden Gopher is "rated one of the better returners in this league in making people miss and getting the big yards when they're there."
"He's a very reliable and talented returner that somebody is going to have to come in and beat him out," Priefer said. "We're going to have competition like we do every year. He knows that, but I'm excited about that because that's only going to make him better and make our football team better."