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.
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.