The first day of Summer hit this week and the temps in Minnesota resembled blistering July heat. Can Minnesota Vikings training camp be fair behind? Rusted, brittle grass signals that the time is nigh for the grunting and the sweating and grinding and the shining of camp for this new version of the Vikings at TCO Performance Center.
Actually, we are a bit early. Camp, which begins on July 25 (players report) is still more than a month away—it’s only the summer temps that are a tad bit early. So we will have to wait, and speculate. And there is much to speculate on. Last week on the Vikings Territory Breakdown podcast, Joe Oberle, senior writer for VikingsTerritory and purplePTSD.com and Mark Craig, NFL Insider and Vikings writer for the Star Tribune newspaper and Startribune.com speculate on the depth of the Vikings defense. There were a lot of changes to the defense this off-season, so depth could become an issue.
But what about the offense? Much appears the same regarding the frontline starters away from the offensive line. Do depth issues creep into the equation? Did the Vikings get hurt by the loss of Tyler Conklin or is it awash with the return of Irv Smith, Jr.? Is the offensive line better as some suggest, or are we in for another season of Kirk Cousins running for his life? And if that is the case, how long before he is injured and the depth at the most important position on the team comes into question? We will have some opinions on that.
The new regime of GM Kwesi Adolfo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O’Connell continues to tinker with the roster—which is a good sign for any new front office team. Of course, nothing they do to the roster can ever be fully judged until they line up against the Packers on opening day—that same Packer steam that recently signed the kicker the Vikings had in town for OTAs. What, if anything should be made of that? You can find out by tuning into the VT Breakdown podcast and listening in on the speculation. But do it inside, with a cold beverage (maybe a Mankato Beer), it is really hot out.