The wait is over, as U.S. Bank Vikings Training Camp is opening this week at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan.
Rookies and select players reported Sunday, while all other veterans will be in the building Tuesday. The first full-team practice is Wednesday afternoon.
And now that the excitement level has reached its peak, what is the biggest storyline for each NFL team at training camp?
Jim Trotter of NFL.com posed that question, and then answered it for every team, landing on the defensive line in Minnesota.
Trotter opined that the Vikings pass rush will be a focal point in the coming weeks after a disappointing performance from that unit in 2020.
Minnesota, which had a franchise-low 23 sacks last season, is hoping that Danielle Hunter is fully healthy after missing all of last season with a neck injury. If he's not, it could mean trouble for coach Mike Zimmer's defense, which is thin on the edges, where there is not a double-digit sack performer other than Hunter.
As Trotter noted, Hunter's return to the field (with full health) would be a boon for the Vikings.
The two-time Pro Bowler recorded 14.5 sacks in 2018 and again in 2019 before missing his sixth pro season.
Stephen Weatherly and D.J. Wonnum are currently the top two candidates to compete for the starting spot on the other side of the defensive line.
Weatherly totaled 6.0 sacks from 2018-19 with the Vikings in a rotational role before injuries hampered his 2020 performance with the Panthers.
Wonnum recorded 3.0 sacks in 14 games in 2020 and showed flashes of growth as a rookie after being a fourth-round pick.
Minnesota also spent a pair of this year's draft picks on defensive ends, tabbing Pittsburgh's Patrick Jones II and Florida State's Janarius Robinson in the third and fourth rounds, respectively.
Jalyn Holmes, Hercules Mata'afa and Jordan Brailford are also defensive ends who were on the roster in 2020. Second-year defensive end Kenny Willekes missed the 2020 season with an injury and could compete for a roster spot.
Schwab unveils best-case scenario for Vikings in 2021
The Vikings 2021 season begins in exactly 48 days, meaning there is still plenty of time for Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's team to jell and grow before the games matter.
Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports recently peered into his own crystal ball to project what a strong season would look like in his mind … and it has the Vikings in the playoffs.
Schwab laid out his best-case scenario for the Vikings and said Minnesota is among the favorites to win the division, regardless of what happens around the rest of the NFC North.
It is weird to talk about another team's player when you evaluate a team's chances, but we know what it means for the Vikings if Aaron Rodgers is traded. Let's look at the scenario if Rodgers is still in Green Bay. The Vikings can still win the division. The defense will improve after a rough 2020. Justin Jefferson and Dalvin Cook are undeniable stars. If Kirk Cousins avoids a slow start, he can put up his biggest season to date. The Vikings might be closer to the Packers than we think right now. An NFC North title, even if Rodgers is back, is possible.
Zimmer is entering his eighth season in Minnesota, and has claimed a pair of division titles in the seven previous seasons. The Packers have four such titles, and the Bears have one division crown in the past seven seasons. The Lions last won the division in 1993, when it was the NFC Central.