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Presser Points: Zimmer on Start of Vikings OTA's

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer spoke to the media Wednesday after the second day of organized team activity practices at Winter Park.

Now that his entire team is back in the same building, Zimmer has a message to spread.

The 2016 season is a new one, and 2015 is in the past.

"Anything that we did last year really doesn't matter, and I think they understand that – most of them do.

The buzz around the Vikings roster continues to heighten since the team went 11-5 last season and was crowned as the NFC North champion for the first time since 2009.

"I had to remind them a little bit yesterday," Zimmer said "We came out and we were a little bit just not like us. We were kind of cocky and talking smack to one another, so I had to remind them who we were.

"Let's not try to be someone else because everybody says we're this or we're going to be good or whatever."

Zimmer said he wants his team to be known as a blue-collar group and one that works hard to not commit many penalties, or make a lot of mistakes. The Vikings were penalized the least of any team in the NFL in 2015 (90 accepted infractions).

"It's important and part of my job to remind them how we have to play in order to win games."

Here are three other key points from Zimmer's presser:

Young players learning how to practice

Zimmer made it known today and has preached over the years that his players take pride in the way they practice.

The Vikings have added eight rookies to the roster through the NFL draft, and a number of undrafted free agents.

The head coach understands the adjustments his young players will have to continue to undergo, but wants to make sure to set a standard for how he expects his team to prepare in practice.

"For young guys, the terminology and everything is new," Zimmer said. "They have to find out where the locker room is, find out where the meeting rooms are, what's the schedule for the day, what time to be out here, and really how to practice.

"We have to show these young guys how to practice. They've never really practiced with the rules that we have. It's just reminding them every day how to do it the right way. They'll get it eventually."

Blair perfect in practice

Vikings kicker Kevin McDermott was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts.

Zimmer was asked if he has talked to his kicker about his confidence since a  27-yard field goal against Seattle in the first round of the playoffs went wide left last season.

"I've talked to him, but it's more about what are you doing now, how you did today," Zimmer said. "He hit all of them today, I'm sure you all marked it down how many he hit in a row. But no, I made mistakes last year, too, so we'll just go on about our business and try to get better."

Sullivan and Loadholt back on the line

The Vikings lost two of the team's starting offensive lineman before the start of the 2015 season. Veteran center John Sullivan suffered through back injuries, and tackle Phil Loadholt tore his Achilles in the preseason game against Tampa Bay .

Each player has been working out at the Vikings facilities during the offseason and has been back on the practice field for the first two days of OTAs.

With the additions of free agent guard Pat Elflein and tackle Andre Smith there is sure to be competition on the offensive line throughout the offseason.

"I don't want to be an instant evaluator, but I think Sully has really come back in better shape," Zimmer said. "He looks completely healthy to me, and Phil has worked into doing everything and I think he's doing good, too.

"They've been working hard, so I think the more competition you have, the better you are."

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