The entirety of the 2018 Minnesota Vikings draft class in addition to 62 undrafted free agents and players invited for a tryout took to the field at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center Friday morning looking to make a good first impression with the Vikings coaches on hand.
After holding meetings Thursday night, today's morning walkthrough was the first opportunity for head coach Mike Zimmer and his staff to begin their project of molding players into NFL contributors and continued their already lengthy path to highlighting some diamonds in the rough.
"I told [all these guys] last night what we're looking for as football players," head coach Mike Zimmer explained after the morning session had wrapped. "We're looking for guys who are tough, smart, passionate about the game of football, good teammates, guys who are good people off the field. That's a start and obviously you've got to look at their athletic ability and the way they learn."
While the Vikings are not alone in landing players out of rookie minicamp, they have had some recent success in identifying contributors from the team's first week on the field. Notably, the Vikings have plucked wide receiver Adam Thielen, RB/FB C.J. Ham and CB/PR Marcus Sherels out of the local crop of talent invited for a tryout as an undrafted player invited to rookie mini camps of year's past.
Could this year's diamond in the rough be Maple Grove wide receiver Jake Wieneke? Or how about a corner back out of Iowa State named Mackenro Alexander, the twin brother of current Vikings CB Mackensie Alexander. With 60 some odd players on the field looking to make a good impression, doing what you're told will be of the utmost importance.
"We're just trying to create competition," Zimmer said. "You get a chance to do a lot of correcting and trying to explain to them understanding that they've never done it before. You can't really get mad at them, you've just got to teach them."