EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —General continuity awaits returning Vikings scheduled to begin a nine-week voluntary offseason workout program on Monday at Winter Park.
There will be some new faces who have joined the team in free agency, but unlike last season when Head Coach Mike Zimmer took the helm and began an overhaul, this year is about building on a foundation that was laid in 2014.
In addition to Zimmer, Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner, Defensive Coordinator George Edwards are back for their second seasons in Minnesota, and Special Teams Coordinator Mike Priefer will be kicking off his fifth with the Vikings.
The Vikings are one of 25 NFL Clubs to start the program that is split into three progressive phases governed league-wide by stipulations in the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Teams with new coaches were able to start April 6.
The rules for Phase 1 prevent on-field work with players by head coaches, coordinators and position coaches.
Veterans Evan Marcus, head strength and conditioning coach, and assistant Jeff Hurd will lead the workouts for their second straight years with the Vikings.
The 2015 NFL Draft is scheduled for April 30-May 2 in Chicago, and the Vikings are scheduled to have seven selections, including the 11th overall pick. Rules in the CBA also regulate integration of draft picks and undrafted free agents in the workout program, beginning with a rookie minicamp that's scheduled for May 7-10.
Here's a breakdown of the program's phases and some important dates (subject to change):
Phase One:-- First two weeks of the offseason program (beginning April 20)
-- Limited to strength and conditioning, and physical rehab
-- Strength and conditioning coaches only; no position coaches permitted to participate
-- No footballs, exception being quarterbacks may throw to uncovered receivers
-- No helmets permitted
-- Next three weeks of the program (beginning May 4)
-- All coaches permitted to participate
-- No live contact and no individual or team offense vs. defense
-- "Perfect Play," individual player instruction drills, special teams drills on a "separates" basis
-- No helmets permitted
Phase Three:-- Next four weeks of the program (beginning week of May 25)
-- 10 Organized Team Activities (OTAs) permitted
-- One mandatory minicamp during week three or four
-- No live contact
-- All coaches permitted on field
-- No individual offense vs. defense permitted
-- Kicking team vs. return team and team offense vs. team defense permitted
-- Helmets permitted
NFL Draft: April 30-May 1
Vikings Rookie Minicamp: May 7-10
Organized Team Activities (OTAs): May 26-28 (three); June 2-4 (three); June 8-11 (four)
Mandatory Minicamp: June 16-18
NFL Rookie Symposium: June 22-27 in Aurora, Ohio
Training Camp Opens in Mankato: Late July
Hall of Fame Game: Vikings vs. Steelers in Canton, Ohio, Aug. 9
NFL Kickoff weekend: Sept. 10-14