EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Draft picks, undrafted free agents and players invited on a tryout basis arrived at Winter Park Thursday, all hoping to have many more days ahead of them to walk through those doors.
"I saw my locker, so it's been great so far," said Kentrell Brothers, whom the Vikings drafted 160th overall.* *"That's the moment you realized that this is actually it. This is my home, and this is where I'm going to be for a long time, hopefully."
Brothers is one of eight Vikings draft picks who arrived at the team's headquarters along with other first-year hopefuls and a few non-rookie young players. Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman personally greeted the players upon their entrance into the Winter Park Fieldhouse. They then had a tour of the facilities, orientation, met with trainers and equipment managers and had their first headshots in purple taken.
The three-day event will allow coaches to work directly with players and assess their professionalism.
"I'm really excited about playing ball," said first-round draft pick Laquon Treadwell one week after the Vikings selected him with the 23rd overall pick.
Draft picks debut
The rookies met Spielman and position coaches Thursday and are scheduled to have meetings and practices Friday, Saturday and Sunday where Vikings coaching staff will get a first-hand look at the players the personnel department has been studying for months.
Here's a refresher of Minnesota's 2016 draft class: WR Laquon Treadwell (23rd), CB Mackensie Alexander (54th), OL Willie Beavers (121st), LB Kentrell Brothers (160th), WR Moritz Boehringer (180th), TE David Morgan (188th), DE Stephen Weatherly (227th) and Jayron Kearse (244th).
Following the draft, several analysts **gave the Vikings high grades** for their selections.
Undrafted but on the radar
The Vikings announced Monday they have **agreed to terms with 10 rookie free agents**, who will all participate in minicamp this weekend.
Among the undrafted free agents being evaluated by coaches during the minicamp are University of Minnesota defensive end Theiren Cockran and Wisconsin quarterback Joel Stave. The list also includes two running backs: Jhurell Pressley (New Mexico) and Brandon Ross (Maryland).
The addition of new players brought the current Vikings roster to 89, one shy of the maximum 90. Having such a highly stacked roster creates depth that will motivate even higher levels of performance and competition at each position.
An undrafted signee is not unheard of. In 2015, safety Anthony Harris and quarterback Taylor Heinicke signed as rookie free agents and remain on the Vikings roster. Heinicke held a roster spot, but was inactive as the team's third quarterback all season. Harris opened the season on the practice squad and received a nod to the active roster in December and played four games, starting two of them.
Looking for an opportunity
Although the Vikings don't release names of players brought in for tryouts, they are looking just as closely at each of them as roster spot contenders.
Two current Vikings who first visited Winter Park on a tryout basis include wide receiver Adam Thielen and special teams guru Marcus Sherels, both of whom contributed regularly in 2015.