The Vikings have arrived at Minnesota State University, Mankato for 2015 Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
In addition to unloading at the dorm and signing autographs for a robust group of fans, several Vikings participated in media sessions.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer:
Back for his second season at the helm, Zimmer is able to take information from what he learned last season and apply that knowledge going forward with regard to practice structure.
"We're changing it a little bit. We'll change the amount of reps that we do and some of the periods we're adding some things there. We're going to do a little bit more of inside run deals that I think are important for us to continue to preach the toughness and the mentality that I want for this football team. Other than that, it's not too much. Same format basically."
He was also asked about how his comfort in leading the staff and players through camp and the season.
"I feel good about understanding the communication between (General Manager) Rick [Spielman] and myself and the expectations of the fans. There are so many things you don't realize your first time going through, like how tough the job is in a lot of different ways. But I feel much more comfortable and knowing the players better and knowing the set-up better. It's exciting. It's just as exciting this year as it was last year, maybe more so."
Running back Adrian Peterson:
Peterson received a robust welcome back to Mankato and discussed how he's happy with his re-worked contract. The 2012 NFL MVP also talked about what he saw out of Teddy Bridgewater last year and said he's looking forward to playing with him in 2015.
"He is a heck of a quarterback, he's smart, he has that drive and that want to be great," Peterson said. "I've seen that in him last year, I've seen that in him at training camp and watching him through the season and how he finished off. I feel like the sky is the limit for him and the sky is the limit for our team."
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater:
Bridgewater is entering camp as the starter this season after competing for the job in 2014 as a rookie. Bridgewater said a pep talk he received from Peterson a year ago still inspires him.
"Adrian is probably one of the best guys you could get to know, even outside of football. But last year there was a point where I was struggling in training camp and he told me, 'Listen, young guy, there are gonna be times when you struggle. No day is going to be perfect. You can't control the uncontrollable. Only focus on the things you can control, and that's how hard you work and how much time you put in studying.' And hearing those words from him last year, it still motivates me to this day. He's a great leader; we're glad to have him back in this locker room, glad to have him back on this team."
Linebacker Chad Greenway:
It's the Vikings 50th training camp in Mankato, and the 10th for Greenway, a first-round pick in 2006. Expectations inside and outside of this team are higher than they have been in a couple of Greenway's previous seasons.
"Obviously we have high expectations. Drummed up with the media or just in the organization, a lot of people are excited about this team. Obviously, we are young and have a lot of unanswered questions, but we have been here in this same day over the past 10 years. There's been years that we haven't had these expectations and it's not quite as fun. Obviously, it's nice to be sitting in a situation where everyone is excited for the team, excited about the direction of the organization and is looking forward to the season. Obviously, there is a ton of work to do and we know what it's going to take to get to that point. It's just going to be one day at a time and it's going to be a fun process. Especially to see where the young guys kind of fit in and fill in. Expectations are a good thing, it's fun."
Cornerback Terence Newman:
Newman signed via free agency this offseason and has played in more games (174 regular season) than any other Vikings defender. Newman has played six previous seasons under Zimmer and had an impressive showing at organized team activity practices. He said he is ready for camp to begin (first walk-through and practice are Sunday).
"You go through the OTA process and the minicamps and you kind of know what to expect. Every team is pretty much the same when it comes to camp. You know, you are here all day. It's a mental drag, so you have to stay focused mentally and be ready physically. With that being said, I think everybody is ready and I'm ready to get started. It got boring sitting at home during the offseason. I couldn't wait to get back here."