The Vikings are set to kick off their 2019 minicamp this week, with practices scheduled Tuesday-Thursday.
Minicamp comes on the heels of Minnesota’s voluntary Organized Team Activity practices, which have stretched over the past three weeks. In response to those OTAs, Viking Update’s Tim Yotter said that “there is very little intrigue among the starting spots” for the Vikings offensively.
But he pointed out that “there is a wide-open competition for the third receiver spot” behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, opining that “many have been in the mix,” but two have drawn more attention. Yotter wrote:
Undersized Chad Beebe has stood out to coaches since bringing his quick-footed display to last year’s spring practices, despite going undrafted. He has the potential as an oft-used slot receiver, but at 5-foot-10 there is little chance Beebe sees much work on the outside. And with some of Thielen’s best work being done [in the] slot, the team’s best course of action is to find a third receiver that can work the boundaries while Thielen works the interior seams along with [Kyle] Rudolph and/or [Irv Smith, Jr.].
To date, Jordan Taylor has been a primary option.
Yotter said that Taylor has “a head start” due to his familiarity with Vikings Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Advisor Gary Kubiak, who previously was with Taylor in Denver.
Laquon Treadwell is entering his fourth season in Purple, and the Vikings drafted two wide receivers this year.
Seventh-round picks Dillon Mitchell and Bisi Johnson offer some potential, 2018 practice-squad player Jeff Badet has blazing speed and might have been called up to the active roster if not for his own injuries last year, and 2019 undrafted rookie Davion Davis shows potential, as well.
Besides Treadwell, the names behind Thielen and Diggs may not be all that familiar to many fans, but the depth and potential of the extensive young crop is intriguing. Johnson is known for his route-running. Mitchell has speed. Badet sees that speed and raises it up. Beebe is the quick-twitched, hyper-active guy. And Taylor might have them all in the race for No. 3.
Offensive additions tabbed as ‘what to watch’ for Vikings minicamp
Nine teams held their minicamps last week, and the other 23 will get their chance this week.
ESPN beat reporters covering those remaining clubs weighed in with the main “thing to watch” for their respective teams.
Courtney Cronin said she’ll be most focused on Minnesota’s offseason additions on offense. She wrote:
Minnesota made changes to its coaching staff and brought in several pieces on offense to further support quarterback Kirk Cousins. In minicamp, we’ll see how those things play out, from the Vikings use of more multiple tight end sets with Kyle Rudolph and Irv Smith, Jr., to who emerges as an early front runner for the No. 3 receiver position. We’ll also see how the offensive line is jelling with Garrett Bradbury at center how comfortable Cousins is in Year 2.
And as for the Vikings NFC North rivals? The Lions minicamp is already in the rearview mirror, but the Bears and Packers will hit the field this week.
ESPN’s Rob Demovsky said offense is also the side of the ball to watch in Green Bay, who will be under the direction of new Head Coach Matt LaFleur.
Yes, the Packers made major personnel changes on defense via free agency (Adrian Amos, Preston Smith, Za’Darius Smith) and the top of the draft (first-round picks Rashan Gary and Darnell Savage, Jr.), but the team hired new coach Matt LaFleur for his offensive ingenuity. Glimpses of that have been on display during OTAs: Condensed formations, crossing routes, an emphasis on run and play-action. By the end of minicamp, the entire offense will have been installed.
And Jeff Dickerson said he’ll be watching Chicago’s kicker competition.
On paper, the Bears appear solid at virtually every position except the one (kicker) that cost them a playoff victory last season against the Eagles. Chicago will have three kickers at minicamp (Chris Blewitt, Elliott Fry and Eddy Pineiro), and the race to replace Cody Parkey is wide open.