In a preview of the upcoming Vikings training camp, ESPN's Ben Goessling looked at a number of storylines Wednesday, the first one being quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. After Minnesota posted an 11-5 record, clinched the division title and hosted the Wild Card playoff game in 2015, Goessling said the Vikings "will be followed by as much optimism as they have in some time."
Fans expect the team to contend in the NFC, and the Vikings' ability to do so will likely depend on the development of third-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. He is 17-11 as a starter in his first two years but posted underwhelming numbers in his second season. The Vikings hope an improved cast around Bridgewater and an improved offensive line will help him take a big step forward.
In addition to Bridgewater, Goessling identified a number of other players and to watch at training camp, including potential position battles – especially on offensive line. He also emphasized second-year defensive end Danielle Hunter as the "player who will have fans buzzing." Goessling wrote:
*Hunter has spent part of his offseason training with running back Adrian Peterson at his gym in Houston. After a six-sack rookie season, Hunter could be in line for bigger things in Year 2. *
Keep an eye on how much playing time he gets at left end, where veteran Brian Robison still figures to be a prominent part of the Vikings' defense.
Rookie TE David Morgan learning from veterans
Before heading back to Minnesota, rookie tight end David Morgan is spending some time in the town of Marble Falls, Texas, where he attended high school. Daily Trib reporter Jennifer Fierro caught up with Morgan to see how he's feeling about his first NFL training camp.
A sixth-round draft pick, Morgan said he soaked up as much as he could from veteran players and coaches during minicamp and OTA practices. He said tight ends Kyle Rudolph and Rhett Ellison have taught him a lot.
"They're very helpful," Morgan told Fierro. "I always know whatever I need, they're always there to help me out."
Morgan was equally enthusiastic about tight ends coach Pat Shurmur, the former head coach of the Cleveland Browns and the Philadelphia Eagles. Because of his offensive background — Shurmur has coached offensive lines, tight ends and quarterbacks — Morgan said he has learned some things that will make him a better player.
With the 2016 season just around the corner, Morgan is excited for training camp and is striving to make the Vikings final 53-man roster.
"It's what everyone is shooting for," Morgan told Fierro. "I feel like they're giving me an equal opportunity. I want to make the most of every opportunity, every chance I get. I'm a hard worker, I work hard, I give a lot of effort.