EAGAN, Minn. — Head Coach Mike Zimmer on Wednesday said the Vikings “got a little better than we were” on Tuesday.
Zimmer spoke shortly after players cleared the fields at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center and said the team’s second of 10 total Organized Team Activity practices was “good.”
“[We’re] still working on a lot of situations, a lot of technique work, installing some new offense, looking at some new things defensively,” Zimmer said.
Wednesday’s session was the first practice of the 2018 season that was open to the media, allowing a glimpse of new quarterback Kirk Cousins running new Offensive Coordinator John DeFilippo’s system against Minnesota’s top-ranked defense from 2017.
Zimmer said Cousins is a “very anticipatory thrower.”
“He throws guys open. He’s very, very accurate,” Zimmer said. “I think he’s doing a good job of taking control of the offense. Like everybody he’s learning a new system, learning new people. I thought he did good today, and I thought he’s done good the whole time he’s been out here.”
Zimmer said he’s enjoyed interacting with DeFilippo so far.
“Flip and I have a really good conversation, good talks about football, about situations, about offense,” Zimmer said. “It’s all been good.”
Here are four other topics addressed by Zimmer on Wednesday:
1. Dalvin Cook status update
Second-year running back Dalvin Cook continues to make progress from a torn ACL that stopped his rookie season.
“He’s doing individual stuff out here, and then we get to team stuff and we’re pulling him out, but he’s doing good,” said Zimmer, adding Cook’s level of participation could soon increase.
“I think probably toward the end [of OTAs], maybe by the mandatory mini-camp, he’ll probably get some work, and then he should be ready to roll for training camp,” Zimmer said.
2. The NFL’s new rule for the National Anthem
The NFL announced a new policy* *requiring players and league personnel on the sidelines to stand during the National Anthem but gives an option for players to remain in the locker room.
The new policy was approved by Owners at the Spring League Meeting while the Vikings were on the field.
Zimmer was asked about the new policy.
“Number one, I didn’t know anything about this,” Zimmer said. “But I was proud of my team last year, they stood for the anthem. I think it’s important that we stand for the anthem. I think it’s important that we represent our country the right way, the flag the right way.
“I probably shouldn’t get on a tangent, but a lot of people have died for that flag, and that flag represents our country and what we stand for,” Zimmer added. “I think that’s important and I’ll stop there.”
3. Meeting with Anthony Barr
Linebacker Anthony Barr was not at the voluntary OTA practice on Wednesday.
Zimmer said the 2014 first-round pick “came to me yesterday and said he wasn’t going to be here.”
Zimmer was asked if Barr’s absence had anything to do with him heading into the final year of his rookie contract.
“I don’t know. I don’t worry about those things,” Zimmer said. “I just know that the conversation that we had, I’m going to keep it between myself and him.”
4. Stay tuned on the offensive line
The Vikings first-team offensive line was Riley Reiff at left tackle, Danny Isidora at left guard, Nick Easton at center, Tom Compton at right guard and Mike Remmers at right tackle.
Reiff was a mainstay at left tackle in 2017, his first season with the Vikings. Remmers opened the season at right tackle before kicking in to guard because of injuries. Easton started at left guard last season but was filling in at center where Pat Elflein is rehabbing an injury he suffered in the NFC Championship Game.
Zimmer says Remmers’ role in 2017 may depend on “how everything shakes out.”
“This week, we decided to keep him at tackle; maybe next week we’ll put him at guard, but at this point Rashod Hill was a little bit banged up this week, so we said, ‘Let’s keep him there and look at him again this week. We can look at Isidora at guard, Compton at guard and kind of see where we’re at there and then move forward.’ ”