The Vikings managed injuries to several key defensive players in 2015, yet still managed to win the NFC North.
Given the benefit of rest, interior defensive linemen Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd and linebacker Anthony Barr were back fully in the mix Friday on the team's first day of training camp.
It's still another day before pads go on, but Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune wrote "the Vikings defense that took the field Friday may have been better than last year's division-title winner."
*Linval Joseph, Sharrif Floyd, Harrison Smith and Anthony Barr were together. Relatively healthy. Staying that way is just one critical element for this promising Vikings team to push farther than last year's first-round playoff exit. *
"I think it's really important," Floyd said. "All of our starters playing as a unit together is a sight to see."
Krammer counted 14 combined starts missed on defense because of injuries for a unit he called "the backbone for the franchise's turnaround under Head Coach Mike Zimmer."
*They all returned to the field at the start of training camp — a step in the right direction after Floyd and Barr were held out of many workouts this spring. *
"I missed it," Barr said. "When it's taken away from me, you appreciate it a little bit more."
Böhringer focused on small details during first NFL camp
It's been a whirlwind three months since Moritz Böhringer was picked by the Vikings in the draft.
The German-born rookie is now a few days into his first NFL training camp, and he told Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press that he's homed in on getting better each day.
*The wide receiver and native of Germany, taken in the sixth round of April's draft, took to the field for his first training camp at Minnesota State University, Mankato in front of about 3,500 onlookers. Overall, he liked how it went. *
"There's always room to improve, but the first day was pretty good,'' he said. Böhringer is trying to make the Vikings after playing last year with the Schwäbisch Hall Unicorns of the German Football League. Spring drills sometimes were trying, but Böhringer believes he is making strides.
"Especially mentally, I think I've improved a lot,'' he said. "Just overall route-running, of course. There's room to improve, but I think I've gotten better.''
*Böhringer spent time between the June 16 conclusion of minicamp and the start of training camp getting his visa in order in Germany and working out with another European player in London. He then spent 4 1/2 weeks training at Winter Park before heading to Mankato. *