Vikings announce offseason practice dates

The Vikings will get an early start on their offseason with a new head coach in place. Mike Zimmer announced the dates of their minicamps and OTAs.

As part of his sit-down with the local Vikings media, head coach Mike Zimmer laid out the dates for the Vikings offseason practice dates.

The veteran camp will come a week prior to the draft – April 29 to May 1 – ending seven days before the first round of draft picks are selected.

The rookie camp will be held a week after the draft –May 16 to May 18 – giving the new coaching staff a chance to get a first impression of the college talent they add to the roster.

The dates of the organized team activities (OTAs) were also announced. They will be conducted May 28 to May 30, June 3 to June 5 and June 9 to June 12.

The offseason program will conclude with the full-team minicamp June 17 to June 19. After that final minicamp practice, players will disperse to wherever they spend their summers until training camp opens in Mankato.

But perhaps the most important dates will begin Monday, April 7. That is the first date that teams that hired a new head coach following the end of their 2013 season can begin offseason workout programs. Teams that have the same head coach they finished with start two weeks later (April 21).

That two weeks can be a significant advantage for a new coach with a young nucleus and, with the expectation that players are looking to put their own best foot forward, anticipate attendance for the start of offseason workouts to be high.

It has been a long time since the Vikings started the season with a head coach that didn't finish the previous year. It was Brad Childress in 2006 when he replaced Mike Tice as the new captain of the Love Boat. After Chilly was fired, Leslie Frazier finished out the 2010 season.

With a lot of new faces assuredly ready to join the Vikings roster, these will be perhaps some of the most important offseason dates of Zimmer's head coaching career. It will be his first up close-and-personal look at the talent on the roster and give him his first assessment of talent.

In the view of casual fans, the season starts at varying times. Some would say training camp. Some would say the third preseason game. More would say the opening game of the regular season. But for Zimmer and his staff, the months of April, May and June may be the most critical of the 2014 NFL calendar year.

FRIDAY NOTES

  • With the release of Letroy Guion Thursday, of the four primary starters on the defensive line in 2013, the only one still under contract is Brian Robison.

  • Jasper Brinkley was seen at Vikings headquarters this week, prompting speculation that he might be back in the mix for the Vikings in 2014. Brinkley was signed by Arizona when free agency began last year, but was released last month in a salary cap move.

  • For those who heard the scream from Greg Childs when he tore both patellar tendons on the second-to-last play of the 2012 preseason passing scrimmage practice in front of the fans in Mankato, there were serious questions as to whether his career might be over. Thursday's release might lend to that belief. The strangest part of Childs' injury was the immediate reaction of eyewitnesses. As he hit the ground, Childs grasped his left knee. However, when medical personnel came to him, their immediate attention was on his right knee. It was only after the fact that what everyone saw made sense. It was both knees.

  • The Vikings are scheduled to visit with LB Jameel McClain, according to ESPN. McClain was released by the Baltimore Ravens after starting 54 games in the last four years.


    John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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