EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — There are no concerns for training camp later this summer, but for the Minnesota Vikings’ three-day mandatory minicamp, the offensive and defensive lines are still missing two important pieces.
Offensive tackle Matt Kalil and defensive tackle Linval Joseph are still limited as they come back following offseason surgery, though both expect to be ready for full participation in training camp.
Kalil, entering his third year as Minnesota’s starter at left tackle, had knee surgery in the offseason to alleviate inflammation he dealt with throughout much of last season. Joseph, the Vikings’ prized free-agent signing on the opening day of free agency, had shoulder surgery in January.
"They’re not totally cleared yet, but we’re working them into things," coach Mike Zimmer said Tuesday. "They won’t be going much in the team stuff, but they’ll be going individual a little bit more."
Joseph was one of the keys to remaking Minnesota’s defensive line. The big nose tackle missed one game last season with a high-ankle sprain but had surgery on his shoulder before free agency began. The team was aware of the issue before signing Joseph, whose surgery was kept quiet during the offseason.
Joseph has been present but limited throughout the team’s offseason program, participating in many of the position workouts but holding back from the full team drills.
While he said, "I’m ready," on Tuesday, precaution is being taken to ensure he’s ready for training camp and he’ll remain limited during this week’s minicamp.
"I’m just ready to start in training camp, show what I have, what I can do," Joseph said.
Joseph said he doesn’t feel behind, despite the missed time. With Zimmer instituting a new defensive scheme, all the players are learning at the same time and Joseph says there are similarities to the defense he was in last year with the New York Giants.
"I think it’s the best situation ever for me, because right now its new to everybody," Joseph said. "I feel like some of the stuff I already know is going to help me because they’re running it here. Just the alignment, some of the schemes, stuff like that, I already did it, so it’s already given me a little head start. I really feel like I’m not too far behind."
Kalil had surgery to clean out what he said was loose cartilage "floating around" in his knee.
"Last season after every game, every practice, my knee would just blow up and I could barely walk on it," Kalil said. "So they got that all cleaned out. It’s good right now, it’s all smooth in there and cleaned up."
Kalil isn’t fully healed yet, but said he has no concerns he will be ready to participate fully when training camp begins next month.
"It’s feeling fine," Kalil said. "The positive part, there is still a little pain in there, but as far as what I got done, there is no inflammation after I work out anymore. It doesn’t blow up after practice or anything like that. It’s a lot better. Not too concerned about it. The competitor that I am, I want to just get out there and go right now and go 100 percent, but it’s just not ready yet."
Safety Jamarca Sanford is still limited as he deals with a muscle pull and he was held out of team drills on Tuesday. Cornerback Josh Robinson, who missed much of the organized team activities with an unspecified muscle pull, began to work back in on Tuesday, even getting time as an outside corner with the first-team defense during team drills.
"Yeah, we’re pretty healthy," Zimmer said. "I think we’ve got a couple guys that won’t go this week, but other than that, we’re good to go."
Running back Joe Banyard didn’t practice Tuesday. Safety Andrew Sendejo, who had been held out of much of the OTAs after having a back procedure, practiced on Tuesday.