Monday Morning Mailbag: OTAs Set To Commence

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Haven't seen much in the form of OTA schedules. Seems last year there were some in earlier in the program. What's on tap? Also, what is the typical routine of players at this time of year? Are the players in the building talking with the coaches? Kirk Cousins made a radio comment that he needed to “get into work to plan how to beat the Packers.”
-- Gary Hansen
Yorktown, VA

OTAs begin this week, so your question is timely and you will see an uptick in activity and coverage coming from TCO Performance Center. The offseason program, which is voluntary, is designed to progressively ramp up and get the players ready physically and mentally for the upcoming season. More meeting time and time on the field is allowed as the offseason program goes along. The offseason program culminates in the mandatory minicamp, which is scheduled for the middle of June. Then there’s a six-week break before training camp begins toward the end of July.

Do you get the feeling that our offensive line is going to turn heads this year? I am no expert, just a die-hard Skol fan, but I predict a stellar performance from this group THIS year. Mostly, they are young, but this may be the best offensive line we have fielded in years. My buddies and I will be at the first and second games this year (our first visit to historic Lambeau Field).
-- Simmons Spain
Forest, VA

After the 2018 season concluded, there’s no question the Vikings prioritized finding a way to improve the play along the offensive line. The process of doing this included developing current players, adjusting scheme, adding coaches and acquiring new personnel. The Vikings have used each of those methods in their plan for 2019 and there’s plenty of reason to be optimistic about this group heading into the season. Instead of just doing the same thing they’ve been doing the last few years, the Vikings have made some significant changes and investment in this position group and I won’t be surprised if this group performs very well in 2019.

Do you think the opportunity some current receivers on our team (Jeff Badet, Chad Beebe, Jordan Taylor) have is just because we waited until the 7th round to address the position? I thought we had plenty of options in the 3rd and 4th rounds to get guys who could fit the No. 3 receiver position. Or is their opportunity possibly the product of the fact that Irv Smith, as a second tight end, might reduce the need for a WR3?
-- Roydon Richards
Indiana

I don’t look at it that way. This viewpoint, in my opinion, underestimates the ability of players such as Badet, Beebe, Treadwell and Zylstra. And it also underestimates the potential of the two receivers selected in the 7th round – Bisi Johnson and Dillon Mitchell. The Vikings are heavily invested in the wide receiver position with big money paid to Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, a 1st-round pick and more than three years of development in Treadwell, young returning players and now two draft picks from this year’s class.

The Vikings picked up Karter Schult, who finished third in the Alliance of American Football in sacks before the league folded. Any chance he could contribute?
-- Mark Simpson
Cedar Falls, IA

You have to give him at least a chance because he’s on the roster. The Vikings have one of the best and deepest defensive lines in the NFL, so if Rick Spielman and Mike Zimmer think enough of him to bring him in, then he definitely has a shot. He’s an example of the kind of player who is interesting to watch this time of year and once the pads come on in training camp because he is literally fighting for his spot each and every rep of practice.

Can you tell us the status of our kicking team? It feels overlooked and I'm concerned the accuracy issues may still be there?
-- Tom Certalic
Montana

The Vikings have last year’s battery of kicker Dan Bailey, long snapper Kevin McDermott and punter Matt Wile all on the roster. Bailey, who was re-signed this offseason, converted 30 of 31 extra points last year and is 127 for 130 on extra points since it was moved to a 33-yard try. Continuity is important for this group, particularly when it comes to field goals and point after touchdowns. Timing is key and the longer the group works together, the better and more consistent their timing becomes. The Vikings did add a long snapper via the draft with the selection of Austin Cutting in the 7th round.

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