The Minnesota Vikings are winding down their last few sessions of OTAs this week with today marking the final media availability and Thursday marking the team's final session before opening Mini Camp next week at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
With that, there were a few things to take note of including Gophers Football Head Coach P.J. Fleck who was on hand to soak up an "ELITE"l summer morning in Minnesota with the Vikings!
Dalvin Cook starts taking first team reps at RB
Running back Dalvin Cook continues his torrid pace towards recover today as we saw the second year running back slide in to take some first team reps at RB for the first time since tearing his ACL in Week 4 of last season. Cook is still limited to non-contact drills, of which all OTA drills are, but seeing him in the mix with the first team is cool. Today the focal point for Cook's group was on the redzone and we saw a heavy dose of Cook in motion going to line up wide as a receiver.
WR Brandon Zylstra is pushing for the team's #3 WR spot
We've seen this story before right? Local wideout gets overlooked in highschool, overlooked in college and latches on with the Vikings where he spreads his wings. That's going to be the narrative for wide receivier Brandon Zylstra who turned heads on Tuesday at TCO working with the second team. Zylstra is fighting for the #3 wide receiver spot. Check out the feature on Zylstra here...
Cousins shines versus first-team blitz in the redzone
Each day of offseason programming seems to have a theme. Sometimes it's based on a schedule that Mike Zimmer and his staff have put together to cover all their bases, other times it's based on something that the group has recently struggled with. Today that focus for the offense was back in the redzone again and the surprise defensive wrinkle was a heavy does of blitzing the quarterback Kirk Cousins. Today Cousins handled it with a plumb slicing and dicing the Vikings first defensive unit as the brought pressure. That's encouraging for a few reasons. First it means that under the restraints of OTAs the offensive line was holding their own against the defense. Secondly, one of the knocks on Cousins in Washington surrounded his struggles in the redzone.
Kicking battle continues leaning towards the rookie Carlson
For the second straight week during media availability the rookie kicker Daniel Carlson has gotten the better of veteran Kai Forbath. This week, out of four total kicks with the full unit on the field Carlson went 4-for-4 hitting from 33, 43, 46 and 50 yards. Forbath was solid on the same set of kicks but muffed his 50-yarder short and to the right to go 3-for-4 on the day. A decision on kicker might be right around the corner for the Vikings, more on that here...
Rashod Hill continues to anchor first team offensive line
With the rookie tackle Brian O'Neill still feeling it out with the second unit, Rashod Hill continues to anchor the Vikings offensive line at Right Tackle. We'll continue to watch the progressions of this unit as the season gets closer but today it was Hill at RT, Mike Remmers at RG, Nick Easton at C, Tom Compton at LG and Riley Rieff at LT for the first team.