EAGAN, Minn. — The Vikings voluntary offseason workout program took another step forward this week when Minnesota reached Phase 3.
This phase allows for the offensive and defensive players to line up against each other but has limitations on contact. Players are just in helmets and shorts, and the Vikings opted to keep some of the dials on a jog-through setting.
The session included position drills, 7-on-7 passing periods and 11-on-11 team reps.
Tuesday's practice was the second of the offseason and first open to media members. Teams can hold up to 10 sessions before a mandatory minicamp in mid-June.
View photos from the Vikings OTA practice which took place on May 23 at the TCO Performance Center.
Here are three observations from Tuesday's OTA practice resented by Minnesota Eye Consultants, the Proud LASIK Partner of the Minnesota Vikings:
1. Cine setter
Several veteran players were not in attendance, but that created an opportunity for 2022 first-round pick Lewis Cine to take ample reps at safety.
Cine, Camryn Bynum and Josh Metellus worked with the first-team defense against the first-team offense on one practice field while reserves competed on adjacent turf.
Cine opened with Bynum when the Vikings had two safeties, but he also was part of a three-safety look that was active with creating different looks before snaps.
He spoke with media members after the session, conveying that he has no limitations just eight months after suffering a broken leg in Minnesota's Week 4 game at London.
2. Intense within limits
Although there was no tackling, there was a certain palpable aggression from the defense.
This manifested with vocal communication before snaps and an urgency in changing alignments.
There also was an admonishment after a reception that the defensive back had allowed too much space for the receiver.
Offensive players who spoke to media members also described the intensity they've seen from the defense this week.
3. Favorite catch
If teams want to consider Josh Oliver a blocking tight end only, that's up to them, but the offseason addition provided my favorite catch of the day when he found an opening on a seam route for a substantial gain.
Oliver's prowess as a pass catcher was well-known when he came out of college at San Jose State, but he's worked on his blocking so much — and delivered on the dirty work with the Ravens — that some typecast him as a blocking TE during free agency.
Don't be surprised to see Oliver make an impact on the Vikings running game and passing game this fall.