Vikings U.S. Bank Training Camp is kicking off Wednesday, and fans have an opportunity to come see their favorite players prepping for the 2021 season.
Position battles will certainly take place at a number of spots around the league, and CBS Sports' Jonathan Jones recently highlighted "under-the-radar" battles throughout the NFC. For the Vikings, he pointed to competitions at the right guard spot and at one of the outside cornerback roles. Jones wrote:
Third-round rookie [Wyatt] Davis is going to compete with [Dakota] Dozier for the starting right guard spot. The Vikings have been methodically upgrading their offensive line through the draft in recent years, and Davis followed left tackle Christian Darrisaw in this year's class for Minnesota. We'll see if Dozier – who started all 2020 at left guard and who has flipped to right to make room for Ezra Cleveland – can hold off the Buckeye in camp. On the defensive side, CB2 will be a hotly contested battle between [Bashaud] Breeland and [Cameron] Dantzler. … Dantzler needs to show continued growth in his second year to fend off the veteran Breeland.
It's worth keeping an eye on position battles around the NFC North, as well.
Jones looked at Packers inside linebackers Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin.
Aaron Rodgers returning for 2021 is the biggest story for the Packers, but perhaps the most closely watched competition at camp will be the battle for CB2 between Eric Stokes and Kevin King. The wide receiver group is always fun to watch, and I'm told Juwann Winfree is a good sleeper pick for one of the final WR spots. But new [Defensive Coordinator] Joe Barry's specialty is linebacker, focusing on that position for most of the past quarter-century. Now that he's helming the Packers defense in place of Mike Pettine, he'll have a close look at coaching up the two leading candidates to start alongside new acquisition De'Vondre Campbell at inside linebacker. Barnes would seemingly have the upper hand in this competition based on his lights-out play last season as a rookie. He appeared in 13 games and led all undrafted rookies in the league in tackles with 78. But Martin, who started in six of the 10 games he appeared in, spent the first six weeks of the season on IR with a knee injury. That obviously slowed the rookie's development and put him behind the eight ball to start his career.
In Chicago, running back No. 3 is up for grabs and will likely go to either Khalil Herbert or Damien Williams, Jones opined. And in Detroit, he's interested in who will take the third tight end spot behind T.J. Hockenson and Darren Fells.
Detroit has so much competition for positions going into camp that I have to go deep to find something under the radar. Everyone's watching the cornerback, receiver and backup quarterback groups. So I'll take a look at a position that's near and dear to new [Head Coach] Dan Campbell's heart: tight end. Hockenson had the third-most receiving yards of all tight ends last season, and TE2 will absolutely be filled by Fells, who's coming off his most prolific pass-catching seasons the last two years. Campbell had brought Josh Hill over from the Saints in free agency, but Hill opted to retire in the spring. Hunter Bryant was penciled in as TE3, but he landed on the NFI list, and it's unclear when he'll be back to health. Alize Mack is the most senior member of the group of zero-NFL-snaps players vying for the spot, so it may be his to lose going up against undrafted free agents Brock Wright and Jake Hausmann this camp. Like many of these roles, whoever can also show contributions on special teams will better their chances.
Kendricks' fiancé Ally Courtnall competing for #SISwimSearch 2021
Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks has plenty of on-field accolades to his name, but this time it's his fiancé who's in the running.
Ally Courtnall, who said "yes" to Kendricks in January, is among 13 finalists for Sports Illustrated's Swim Search 2021.
According to SI, the well-known competition "garnered thousands of submission through Instagram and virtual castings."
Courtnall earlier this spring was featured in the Vikings "Getting Open" series that worked to normalize the conversation and break down stigma around mental health. Courtnall openly shared her struggles with depression and journey to overcoming mental health challenges, and she continues to be passionate about helping others facing similar experiences.
In regards to being selected as a Swim Search 2021 finalist, Courtnall wrote the following:
"Difficult roads lead to beautiful destinations. I'm so … proud of myself for never giving up. For fighting through every mental battle and not defining myself and basing my worth off of my bad mental health days. Through my struggle I've found my strength, and I'm making dreams come true."
Those who wish to support Courtnall can vote here once per day through Monday, Aug. 2.