Darren and Dave are selecting 3 topics plus 1, coming out of the first week of the Minnesota Vikings training camp.
Plus 1 Topic: The COVID protocols and how when Kellen Mond tests positive, it takes out 3 QBs including starter Kirk Cousins.
Topic 1: KJ Osborn is getting some love from the coaches. After his rookie season where he was tried as a returner with disappointing results, he has focused on improving his wide receiver skills. It has been showing early and often so far in camp. Is it enough for him to capture the elusive WR3 position? The Vikes have Chad Beebe, Bisi Johnson [who left the field Friday with his knee in a brace] and new free agent Dede Westbrook. What about 5th rounder Ihmir Smith-Marsette? Will he surprise everyone? Can Osborn surprise everyone?
Topic 2: What is with the Vikings under the Zimmer era always moving offensive linemen out of their drafted or natural position? We get that the more positions on the line makes a player more versatile especially when injuries start to hit, but does it do harm to a player’s learning curve when they now have to try something new, learn the footwork, hand play, even the blocking assignments before they have learned to step up their play at their drafted position? Yes, you want players that can do this, but is the team actually harming its progress by doing it too early in a player’s career. They draft a left tackle of the future and make him a right guard who now is at left guard, Ezra Cleveland. This season, Oli Udoh who was drafted 2019 as a tackle in the 6th round and was being groomed as a swing tackle, is now splitting first-team reps with Dakota Dozier at right guard. Another tackle playing guard. A lot of college tackles become NFL guards, but it is looking like the OL might be 4 tackles and a center. That may be thinking outside of the box and work, or another disaster when the team was hoping to protect Kirk Cousins and open holes for Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison. …And after the disaster of having Dozier playing last season, drafting a multiple-time All-American right guard from Ohio State named Wyatt Davis, is Dakota still on the team much less the first team?! Again to the original question of are the Vikings doing more harm than good? Davis was seen snapping to Kellen Mond the other day. Coaches may have wondered if he could snap in an emergency or if Garret Bradbury needs yanked or gets hurt to get him on the field, or they are doing this position swap thing because that’s what they do. Who knows? At least Mond got some extra snaps.
Topic 3: Danielle Hunter is back from neck surgery. “It was just a tweak!” Mike Zimmer jokes about it now, but it turned out to be a herniated disk in the neck that required surgery. The Vikes have slowly integrated him into practice and he is now taking the majority of reps for the first time and looks even better than before. Will he stay healthy once the pads go on this week and hitting cracks up? Can he be as good or better than he was during the season when teams will be focusing on him? Let’s hope so.
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