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5 things to watch for in Week 2 of Vikings OTAs

5 things to watch for in Week 2 of Vikings OTAs

Offensive line combos

Last week head coach Mike Zimmer suggested that he might have Mike Remmers work in at right tackle for the second session of OTAs. Remmers was at right guard for Week 1 with Tom Compton playing right guard. Zimmer cited Rashod Hill being “a little banged up” as a reason Hill did not see first-team reps with Remmers at guard.

We did not see second-round pick Brian O’Neill with the first team. Considering how far he has to go with technique and size/strength, he might not get many opportunities with the starters unless he shows major progress in training camp.

With Pat Elflein on the mend, Danny Isidora got a chance to practice at left guard. Zimmer was impressed with Isidora last offseason and may want to see more of him.

Anthony Barr

The Vikings’ Pro Bowl linebacker was not in attendance Week 1. Zimmer would not discuss Barr’s reasons, though it’s reasonable to surmise that it’s contract related. The question is whether Barr is close to a long-term deal and doesn’t want to risk an injury in OTAs or if he’s not close to a deal. Other players aiming for contracts like Aaron Donald appear to be putting pressure on their team by sitting out.

The Vikings still have three players in need of extensions. Last year they announced deals for Xavier Rhodes, Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph early in camp. We might see the same approach this year.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks is the only one of the four players – Barr, Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter – in need of new deals to sign a contract so far this offseason.

New kickoff rules

The NFL rolled out new kickoff rules, but the kneeling/anthem topic ended up taking over the conversation last week. This year players will not get running head starts and the receiving team will have to line up with their eight of 11 players begin a kickoff in a 15-yard zone near midfield.

If we hear from special teams coach Mike Priefer, it will be worth finding out whether this will impact how many kicks are taken back and if we could see someone new emerge as a star returner.

The receiver battle

There are four players who are very likely – if not 100 percent locks – to make the Vikings’ roster and the rest are jockeying for position. It’s very hard at most positions to get a feel for the race before the players are practicing with pads, but receiver is one area we can spot the standouts.

The players with the best shot to win a job are Stacy Coley, Tavarres King, Korey Robertson and Brandon Zylstra. In 2017 preseason, Coley stood out, but did not have a catch last year. King has previous NFL experience, spending last season with the Giants. Robertson was a high-priority undrafted free agent and Zylstra has pro experience in Canada.

Jeff Badet, Chad Beebe, Cayleb Jones and Jake Wieneke will need to make a very good impression from the start in order to have a chance.

Kirk Cousins’ first impressions

We did not hear from the Vikings’ new starting quarterback in Week 1. How is he adapting to John DeFilippo’s offense? What’s his chemistry like thus far with Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen? Has he gone fishing in Minnesota yet? You know, all the important questions.

    Source: ESPN | Matthew Coller | May 29, 2018