By, Ryan Donaldson / @RADonaldson
EDEN PRARIE, MN - WINTER PARK--
Don't tell Mike Zimmer and his coaching staff that it's only May 29th. The staff and players from the get-go in Thursday's OTA's were fast paced, loud in communicating, and intense. From individual drills to 11 on 11 scenarios, the coaches and players put the emphasis on communicating with each other. Pre-snap and after the play, coaches and players would always be talking and coaching each other up.
Matt Cassel was heading the 1st team offense, while Christian Ponder manned the 2nd team, 1st round rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater had an excused absence from day two of the Vikings OTA's. Norv Turner, for the majority of the day heeded the offensive drills, while Mike Zimmer attended to the defensive side of the ball.
After practice, Mike Zimmer addressed the media and emphasized the point, "We have some heart, we definitely have some guys here that want to be coached and be good. We have had a couple good days of work so far, guys are still learning the system but I have been pleased with their effort, studying, and the way they have been taking to the coaching." The theme seemed to be guys learning the playbook, learning the vocabulary, and absorbing what they could at this stage in the offseason.
On the QB's Zimmer noted "We have 2 quarterbacks on the roster that have taken teams to the playoffs." Referring to Cassel and Ponder.
"We have to play smart, I love competitors but I also love smart guys. We are a team, we have to play together as a team both on offense and defense. The more we can understand that the better football team we will be" The coaching and communicating during drills, and after drills was one of the themes the media members were picking up on as we took in the practice.
After practice, I had a chance to hear what a few of the players were saying:
Kyle Rudolph addressed learning the new offense and the status of his previously inured foot - "We have a long ways to go but we have the tools at every position, we have it here, now we just have to put the work in to execute the offense" He went on to talk about his foot, "I have all the confidence in the world in my foot, it's fun to be out here again running around, you don't have to think about your foot you can just run and play football."
Cordarrelle Patterson looked sharp on the day, he received a lot of looks from different sides and different formations on the offensive side of the ball all morning. Patterson looked sharp running routes, and caught everything thrown his way. He said after practice- "I still don't think [defenses] know what's coming from me. After last year I still got a lot left in the tank, and I'm just trying to get better."
Coach Zimmer said of Adrian Peterson "He looks good, he made some tremendous cuts out here the past few days." And when Adrian was asked about the new offense he said, "I'm excited to be in this offense, as a whole, what coach Turner brings is pretty amazing. I think it's going to be fun," Adrian went on to talk about the health of his surgically repaired groin, "I'm well enough to go out and perform and not really feel like I'm going to hurt myself, still have to get some of the strength back in my groin but I'm feeling good.
AP also answered a question on Teddy Bridgewater, he said "He seems like a smart kid, you can see in his eyes he's looking hungry. He's going to go out there and try to win a starting job."
Notable absences from day 2 of the OTA's-
Matt Kalil, worked in individual drills, coach Zimmer said he had a procedure done 4 or 5 weeks ago but would not specify what the procedure was. Insisted keeping him out of 11 on 11 drills was just precautionary.
Teddy Bridgewater - Excused absence for NFL Rookie orientation.
Anthony Barr - Excused absence finishing up his semester at UCLA
Jamarca Sanford / Andrew Sandejo / Josh Robinson - "Simple muscle pulls, nothing major" Per Zimmer.