With the Vikings' minicamp starting today, the pressure gets turned up as young players try to make a lasting impression on the coaching staff and veterans try to solidify their position on an NFL roster for another season.
One player who could be at the tight end of the rope as it pertains to his future with the team is quarterback Brooks Bollinger
. The No. 2 guy heading into training camp last year, one has to wonder where Bollinger stands now. The team went out in free agency and signed Gus Frerotte
and used a draft pick on John David Booty
, who some believe could be Tarvaris Jackson
's top competition in the years to come. Then there is rookie Kyle Wright
, who is fighting for a chance to make the roster, whether as the third QB or on the practice squad.
The more seasoned Bollinger has no such options with the practice squad. His job rests on being the No. 2 guy coming out of training camp. With Booty's roster spot likely safe and Frerotte likely to have a huge advantage in the backup race, what is Bollinger's role? Quite possibly none.
The numbers seem stacked against Bollinger and, considering the 80-man roster limit in training camp no longer includes the roster exemptions for up to six NFL Europa players, the Vikings will have to cut players as they signed their five draft picks in order to keep within the rules of roster limits. It could be the end of the line for Double-B. He would seem to be a man caught in the numbers game. Barring an injury to Frerotte or Booty, this weekend could be the last we see of Bollinger in a Vikings uniform.
What a difference a year can make in the career of an NFL player.
The Vikings will also use minicamp to experiment with the new defensive communication system in the helmet that the offenses have used for the last several years. E.J. Henderson and Darren Sharper are the frontrunners to be the defensive player chosen as the primary conduit of sideline information from the defensive coaching staff. There was limited work done with that system in organized team activities over the last several weeks.
ESPN did a recent story on assistant coaches who are the most deserving of acclaim. Among them, the top two were former Vikings assistants – Tom Moore and Monte Kiffin. Both assistants under Dennis Green, Moore has gone on to have a long-term relationship with Indianapolis and Tony Dungy, and Kiffin has been the defensive coordinator with Tampa Bay since Dungy landed there following his hiring away from Minnesota. Since neither of them would appear to have head coaching aspirations, their praise comes with a hearty handshake rather than questions of when they will bolt their current situation for another team.
The Raiders have apparently reach an agreement with first-round draft pick Darren McFadden and have a press conference set for this afternoon. Perhaps the Raiders learned from their 2007 experience when QB JaMarcus Russell didn't get signed until into the regular season.
David Jacobs, a steroid distributor being sought for questioning by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodwell, was found shot to death along with his girlfriend Thursday. Jacobs, who was linked to several NFL players, had apparently agreed to talk to the commissioner about who and what he knew. That clearly won't happen now.
When the Vikings start signing their draft picks, other players will have to be cut to make room on the roster with no NFL Europa exemptions. That likely will leave a few young players looking for work, but Brooks Bollinger could be among the players we see for the last time at minicamp.
Brooks Bollinger could be among the players we see for the last time at minicamp.