With the Vikings’ three-day mandatory minicamp officially over, let’s look at the three biggest takeaways from the practices.
1. Danielle Hunter And Za’Darius Smith Will Be A Dangerous Duo
Since then, the two players have begun to develop a strong connection with one another this offseason.
“It was funny because early on, Danielle was really quiet,” Vikings Linebacker Coach Mike Smith said. “He just kind of kept to himself, (and) me and Z were kind of looking at each other. And it was funny, D said well, because the way Z plays, he said ‘I thought you were going to be a mean and angry guy. Then I realized you’re a good person.’ So after that first week, man, they’re inseparable. And that’s good. That’s how it needs to be. Really, that’s the whole defense. When all those guys up front are a family and they work together and all that type of good stuff, that’s when it clicks.”
When healthy, Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith are both all-pro caliber players, and there is no reason to think they will not become a top pass-rushing duo in the NFL.
2. Battle For Starting Right Guard Position Is Officially Underway
The Vikings made a lot of moves this offseason looking to upgrade the offensive line, precisely the right guard position. This is evidenced by the signing of Jesse Davis and Chris Reed and the selection of Ed Ingram in the draft.
In the practices open to the media, Jesse Davis has taken all of the first-team reps at right guard, solidifying him as the early frontrunner for the job. However, there is still plenty of offseason ahead of us, and the position will certainly not just be handed to Davis.
It is worth noting that Chris Reed has been taking reps at center for the 2nd team offense with Ed Ingram slotting in at right guard. This is worth noting because both players have experience at the center position, but the coaches prefer Reed.
As for Garrett Bradbury, he has taken every first-team rep at the center position, and according to offensive line coach Chris Kuper, “He’s been doing a great job.”
Currently, the Vikings’ first-team offensive line consists of Christian Darrisaw at LT, Ezra Cleveland at LG, Garret Bradbury at C, Jesse Davis at RG, and Brian O’Neil at RT.
3. Greg Joseph Wins Kicking Battle Over Gabe Brkic
The Vikings signed Brkic on May 5th as an undrafted free agent. He possessed a strong leg; however, his accuracy appears to have been his downfall. He reportedly was far more inaccurate than Joseph during OTA and minicamp practices.
Brkic will still have a chance to make an NFL roster as there is plenty of time left before the start of the season, and the talent is still there. It’s just a matter of if he can put it together.
It is also possible that the Vikings will sign another kicker to challenge Joseph for the position this offseason. But for now, the position is his to lose.
If you enjoyed this piece, check out my other articles here!