NFL training camps formally kicked off this week, and the Minnesota Vikings version got underway on Sunday as rookies reported to Eagan. All other players arrived two days later.
Specifically, the on-the-field action began on Wednesday. These are four takeaways from Day 1 of Vikings training camp.
1. Johnny Mundt Might Be ‘The Guy’ at TE2
After Irv Smith on the Vikings tight end depth chart, the players before Wednesday signified a large question mark. Why? Well, for the last three seasons, Minnesota always had a twosome for tight ends, either Smith and Kyle Rudolph or Smith and Tyler Conklin leading into 2022.
Now, though, it seems like Smith and anonymous depth TEs. Mundt did his best to change that anxiety Wednesday, making a few commendable plays, even worthy of mention by Will Ragatz of SI.com.
Perhaps the Vikings won’t need an Eric Ebron, Jared Cook, Jimmy Graham, or Blake Jarwin signing after all. If Mundt continues his Day 1 trend, he might end up as a productive TE2. Phew.
2. Kevin O’Connell’s Infectious Energy
Watch this video.
Mike Zimmer was the right person for the Vikings job in 2014, as the franchise needed a return to defensive relevance. In 2022, Kevin O’Connell feels like the right guy for the job now — like Zimmer in 2014.
O’Connell is encouraging, infectious, and energetic. Per reports from 2021, those adjectives were nonexistent in the Vikings locker room from the coaching staff. O’Connell doesn’t appear like a coach who merely said all the right things from February to July — the former Los Angeles Rams offensive coordinator is walking the walk on the field.
3. At Least for a Day, Andrew Booth Looks Crazy Good
Probably the “winner of the day,” Andrew Booth began to place his hands on the throat of a starting CB job. Of course, Patrick Peterson and Cameron Dantzler will have something to say about it, but Booth dazzled to start Vikings training camp. Here’s a small example.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert said this about Booth a few days ago, “Rookie cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. will emerge as a starter. The Vikings have been raving about Booth since trading up to draft him in the second round, and he joins a position group that is ripe for newcomers.”
Seifert didn’t make the prognostication on a whim, and Wednesday’s dealings substantiate his prediction.
Booth looked magnificent to start camp. Period.
4. A Promising Bill of Health Overall
On the PUP and NFI list, the Vikings have three inactive players — Ryan Connelly (LB), Nate Hairston (CB), and Blake Proehl (WR).
Find some wood to knock on because that is wonderful news for Minnesota, especially compared to the Green Bay Packers, who have 14 players on both lists.
The Vikings hope to bounce back from a season where Danielle Hunter and Irv Smith missed significant playing time. Early proceedings at camp suggest team health is in a good spot, at least for now.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).