EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –As the Vikings wrapped up their final minicamp practice and prepared to break until training camp, Kyle Rudolph said he is grateful to have spent an offseason in Purple.
Bradford completed three weeks of voluntary Organized Team Activity practices in addition to three days of minicamp during his first spring in Minnesota since joining the team via trade last September.
While the 2016 season was a whirlwind to be sure, Bradford said the experience was a valuable one.
"Once everything had kind of ended and calmed down, I kind of thought about just the events that had happened in the past six or seven months and how I had got here," Bradford told Twin Cities media members after Thursday's practice. "But I wouldn't trade it for the world."
Added Bradford: "I learned a lot about myself last year; I learned a lot about being a quarterback, being a teammate, being put in that position."
Another new experience for the quarterback will be heading down to Mankato for training camp.
Here are three snaps from Bradford's media session:
1. Offseason reps
Having a full offseason in the playbook and locker room will hold multiple benefits for Bradford.
He said that it's been helpful having the extra time to meet with Offensive Coordinator Pat Shurmur and go over concepts that they liked from last year as well as necessary improvements or tweaks to the offense.
"Also, just the time with everyone on the field and us going through it together, them hearing my voice in the huddle, at the line of scrimmage, going through some of our audibles at the line of scrimmage, some of those changes," Bradford said. "And then just getting on the same page with the guys out wide. Obviously we didn't have an opportunity to really do any of that [in 2016, except for at practice and after practice, and at that point, it's hard to really play catchup. This is the time of year where you really build that foundation. So going through this offseason, being able to do it with this team, I think it's obviously going to help."
2. Offensive line attitude
The Vikings have a new-look offensive line this spring, as Minnesota added tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency in addition to drafting Pat Elflein and Danny Isidora.
Bradford said he's been impressed by the unit's work ethic.
"I love those guys up front," Bradford said. "When they come to work every day, it's time to go to work. And you can just tell by their attitude in the meeting room, when we come out here for walk-through before practice, after practice.
I think there's been a level of focus, probably a little bit higher than I've seen in the past during this time of year with [offensive linemen]," Bradford continued. "It's nice to know that they're taking things serious and that they want to get things right."
3. Working in the red zone
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer has placed an emphasis on situation work throughout OTAs and minicamp, and Bradford said he especially appreciated the red zone practice.
He defined the red zone as "a critical part of the game" for both offense and defense and hopes the extra focus inside the 20 will pay off.
"It's an area that, going back and looking at last year, we've got to be better, we've got to be more efficient," Bradford said. "When we get down there, we have to score touchdowns and can't settle for field goals. So, I think just trying some new concepts down there, some things that we did well last year and trying to find a balance, and maybe add a few more new plays down there – I think it's been great for us to spend the extra time."