*EAGAN, Minn. – *Mike Remmers has spent most of his time at guard throughout Organized Team Activity and minicamp practices, but he’s remaining at the ready to play tackle.
Remmers started all 12 games he played in last season, including the Division round playoff game against New Orleans. He primarily played right tackle but also made a start at right guard. He started at left guard in playoff games against New Orleans and Philadelphia.
Now looking ahead to his second season in Purple, Remmers is more concerned about helping the team than he is about position.
“I’m just going to do whatever they want me to do. When I go home, I’ll do guard and tackle stuff to be ready for anything,” Remmers told media members on Thursday after the final of three minicamp practices. “You never know what’s going to happen in the season, so I’m just not worrying about that right now. I’m going to train as much as I can at both positions.”
When asked if he approaches the guard and tackle positions differently, Remmers cracked a smile.
“No, you’ve gotta have the same mentality,” Remmers said. “It’s football, and we’re on the offensive line – everyone’s gotta have the same mentality down there.”
Rashod Hill started nine total games in 2017, including both postseason contests. He lined up at right tackle for six of those starts and primarily played that spot throughout the Vikings spring practices.
Hill emphasized the importance of adaptability on the offensive line and said Remmers’ versatility is extremely valuable.
“It’s good that Remmers can play … three positions,” Hill said on Wednesday, adding that the line is working to fill the shoes of right guard Joe Berger, who retired in March. “We’re just trying to fill in the spots and build a better chemistry with each other. We all had a chemistry already, but this is a new year.
“We’re learning off each other, me and Mike, and we’re getting better at that. The chemistry’s getting better,” Hill added. “We love being around each other. That’s what I love about this team – we’re like a brotherhood.”
Remmers echoed Hill’s comments about a new season and pointed to the learning curve that comes with adjusting to a new offensive coordinator in John DeFilippo.
“With the playbook, kind of had to start from square one there, a little bit. [But] I think that everyone learned and adapted really quickly to the new scheme,” Remmers said. “I think this time of year was really, it’s going to be critical for our success this year.”
Hughes leaning on vets, playbook as comfort level increases
Cornerback Mike Hughes’ first NFL minicamp is in the books, and he’s “pretty pleased” with his first spring in the big leagues.
The first-round pick said he has lots of work left to do, though.
“It’s just all about learning the playbook, knowing where you’re supposed to be, those things that help you be around the ball,” Hughes said. “I’ve just been dialed into my playbook and trying to feel as comfortable as I can so I can compete.
“I have a long ways to go,” Hughes added. “Some plays I know exactly where I’m supposed to be; other plays, I catch myself thinking. But the vets, they help me out with where I’m supposed to be, and they help me compete and feel as comfortable as I can.”
Hughes said that “pretty much everybody” on the Vikings top-ranked defense has been helpful to him as he learns the ropes.
Harrison Smith is among vets in the secondary who have lent some guidance to Hughes. The All-Pro safety reflected for media members on the experience of a young player starting out in the pros.
Smith pointed out that it’s one thing to learn the plays, but rookies are faced with more than that.
“There’s things as far as studying and just your mindset, the way you prepare for training camp and what you do in this time from now until it’s time to show up. Those are things that those guys don’t know,” Smith said. “You’ve been in college for three, four or five years, and they kind of have a regimen for you, and [you’re] in summer school. Now we’re kind of turned loose, so you have to have a plan in place mentally to be ready to go in July.”
Added Smith: “That rookie year is long, coming from the last year to the combine to training, so you have to know how to balance it and get ready to go all the way through the season.”
As Hughes heads into the next five weeks before reporting for training camp in late July, he’ll be focused on better learning the nickel spot. Stressing that he’s ready to play “wherever they want me,” Hughes explained that he’s more accustomed to playing on the outside but has enjoyed receiving reps in the slot.
“[Outside corner] is something that I’ve [played more recently], so just learning the nickel position, getting comfortable and just doing everything they tell me to do,” Hughes said.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said he was pleased with Hughes’ progress so far.
“I thought he did a nice job. Still a learning experience for him,” Zimmer said during his session with media members. “I thought the way he handled himself, the way he tried to learn and listen and all those things – I thought it was good.”
*Reflecting on fatherly advice *
With Fathers’ Day just around the corner, several Vikings were asked to share and reflect on a piece of parental advice that they’ve valued.
Minnesota native Adam Thielen said that it was a mentality, rather than a verbal message, that he learned from his father growing up.
“I think the biggest thing that he did was just lead by example,” said Thielen, who now is a father himself to Asher. “He went to work every day, grinded and tried to provide for his family, and that’s something that I’ll never forget and something that I’ve taken with me through my life.”
Kirk Cousins, who also has a young son, Cooper, values a Bible verse that his father has encouraged him with.
“Proverbs 3:5-6 – ‘Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Don’t lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your steps,’ ” Cousins recounted. “I’ve really built my life on that, and it’s proven true so many times throughout my [faith journey].
“He also said, ‘Kirk, when you make good decisions, good things happen. And when you make bad decisions, bad things happen,’ ” Cousins added with a laugh. “His point was that there are consequences in life, and you got to factor that in when you make decisions. Whether that was choosing to come to Minnesota or choosing to throw an interception in the red zone, I’ve got to live with those decisions. I’ve learned that from a young age, and that law has proven true from when I was young to now.”