Who says it isn't football season? The Minnesota Vikings have three weeks of organized team activities followed by a mandatory minicamp before a month-long lull until training camp. So with the team assembled, FOX Sports North presents a few things to keep an eye on during OTAs, which run from May 23-25, May 30-June 1 and June 13-15.
Keep your eyes on Mike Zimmer's ... eye
Zimmer is stepping away from the Vikings OTAs to recover from his most recent eye surgery, so he won’t be watching these five storylines in person. But we’re guessing he’ll watch an unhealthy amount of OTA tape once it heals. Either way, here’s to hoping that Zimmer’s eighth (yes, eighth) eye surgery since November is his last. The eye troubles, which started during a Halloween loss in Chicago, forced him to miss a Dec. 1 game against the Dallas Cowboys and coach a few games with an eye patch. We’ll miss the intimidating eye-patch look, but it’s definitely for the best.
Laquon Treadwell and the wide receiving corps
No one needs a solid performance at OTAs more than 2016 first-round pick Laquon Treadwell, who will try to rebound from a disappointing one-catch rookie season. But Treadwell's path to a breakout sophomore season took an interesting turn when the Vikings signed Michael Floyd on May 10. Floyd, if healthy, is a vertical threat in the passing game. It's possible (if not likely) that he'll pass up Treadwell as the No. 3 option in the passing game behind Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen -- the only receivers that seem to have guarenteed roles in the offense.
Worse news for Treadwell: Minnesota selected Rodney Adams (fifth round) and Stacy Coley (seventh round) in the NFL Draft. And don't forget, Jarius Wright is under contract for the next three seasons. Things are crowded in the receiving room, but hopefully we'll have a better sense at the Vikings' depth once OTAs are wrapped up.
Offensive line depth
Official depth charts aren’t typically released until the first preseason game, but Vikings fans hope to get their first glimpse at different combinations on the offensive line. Free-agent signings Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff will bookend the line at the tackles. Alex Boone is set to play at left guard, leaving center and right guard as the only question marks. Second-round pick Pat Elflein can play both positions. So can veteran Joe Berger, who has started 39 games at various positions the past three seasons. Who will line up where?
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What does Shurmur have Cookin’ in the kitchen?
Adrian Peterson won't be wearing purple for the first time in his career, freeing offensive coordinator Pat Shurmur from force feeding the ball to a one-dimensional (although elite) AP. The Vikings, however, have a new mouth to feed in rookie running back Dalvin Cook. Cook can run and catch the ball out of the backfield effectively. His versatility will hopefully halt defenses from stacking up against the Vikings offense, which was often predictable in 2016 with quarterback Sam Bradford under center and Peterson in the backfield.
How will Shurmur use Cook in the offense? What wil the timeshare be with Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon? OTAs will give us our first look at how everything shapes up behind Bradford.
Associated PressJim Mone
Teddy Bridgewater health update
Although Bridgewater won’t be doing many football-related activities at OTAs, it’s always encouraging to see what the 24-year-old quarterback is up to on his Instagram. A few weeks ago, he tested his passing accuracy by impressively knocking an apple off the top of his girlfriend’s head with a pass. On Sunday, Bridgewater posted an inspiring picture of him running off the field with a caption reading: “It’s more than just a game … it’s about providing hope to a community where there aren’t many options.”
Bradford's awesome, but everyone is pulling for No. 5 to get back on the field. Maybe not this year, but soon.