Hybrid Theory by Linkin Park might be one of the best albums of the 2000s and apparently it's also one of the new theories that the Minnesota Vikings are looking to employ under new offensive coordinator John Defilippo and head coach Mike Zimmer.
We've seen the Vikings dabble with it a little bit in the past, testing players at positions that are slightly different from their native spots. In the past it's been guys like Everson Griffen dropping into pass coverage or Brian Robison switching outside in and playing the defensive tackle position.
This year though, this plan seems to have received a bit of a kick in the pants as each day now we've seem a new player working out with a new position group at Vikings Mini Camps.
Anthony Barr has been working through position groups with the defensive linemen. Terence Newman has worked in the last few days as a safety opposite of Harrison Smith. Most recently, rookie right tackle Brian O'Neill was running routes and catching passes with the tight ends yesterday at the beginning of practice.
There's a general thought around the NFL that's usually associated for young players finding their role and their opportunity to initially get time on the Special Teams side of things. According to defensive coordinator George Edwards that thought process has carried over onto the "regular" 22-positions on the field as well.
"You've got to have that versatility," Edwards said Wednesday. "If someone gets injured or something like that the next guy's got to be up...The more that you can do, the longer you're going to stick around and help us win football games."
Another aspect of the conversation comes into the conversation when you think about how the players in the NFL have changed, particularly the type of players that Rick Spielman, Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings have targeted in recent years.
Heading into college at UCLA, Anthony Barr was a running back. For Brian O'Neill, he was originally recruited as a tight end to Pittsburgh. Everson Griffen was also a high school running back. Bringing in players with a varied background means that they also bring with them a varied skill set. One step further, when those players you're bringing in are freak athletes like Barr and Griffen, you have the freedom to list some of their traditional positional restrictions and do some different things with them.
Finally, sprinkle in creative play callers on both sides of the football and you've got something unique.
Mike Zimmer has always been known to be a defensive wizard of sorts when it comes to the ways that he disguises coverages, uses players in different ways and keeps it aggressive. This year the team will get to mix in another creative mind on the other side of the football with John DeFilppo who brings a boost of creativity with him from the Eagles offense that made the RPO famous last year and one games late in the year and into the Super Bowl thanks to some of their creative and intricately planned play calls.
All of this is to say that the Vikings will have the opportunity to really open up their playbook on both sides of the football this year and if what we've seen through OTAs and Mini Camp is any sign, they might do it through the use of some familiar names filling in at unfamiliar positions.