There will be hundreds of angles and storylines coming out of camp as it progresses, but these are the 10 that are likely going to get the most attention.
1. This QB or that QB? – It’s going to be an issue up until the point Teddy Bridgewater is put in the starting lineup. The questions will be coming daily throughout camp, and into the season if Teddy Football doesn’t win the job in the preseason.
2. Old kids on the block, new kids in town – This will be the first training camp Mike Zimmer has run as a head coach, so it will be a significant ongoing storyline – from how he delegates authority as to how hard he’s going to push his players. It will include Norv Turner, George Edwards and position coaches as well.
3. Trench warfare – With the exodus of Jared Allen and Kevin Williams, the defensive line is going to be a regular storyline that will include as many as 10 players – from those fighting for starting jobs to those who are trying to make the roster. Brian Robison is the only returning starter, so the stories will be numerous.
4. Are you ready? – Few players have been getting more offseason buzz and man-love than Cordarrelle Patterson. It typically takes until a third NFL season before wide receivers hit their full potential. The conventional wisdom among the league talking heads is that Patterson is reading to take off into the stratosphere. Having the same QB won’t hurt.
5. Man in the middle – The Vikings used the ninth pick in the draft to take Anthony Barr to apparently line up on the opposite side of Chad Greenway. So who’s in the middle? No one knows just yet.
6. The second time around – Patterson is going to draw a lot of attention, but so are several other second-year Vikings looking to stake their claim to a legacy with the team – a list that also includes Sharrif Floyd and Xavier Rhodes. Both of them were drafted for this opportunity. The guys who held their jobs are both gone – Kevin Williams and Chris Cook. It’s their job to lose and they need to take the next step forward.
7. Mount Rushmore – What’s a training camp discussion without Adrian Peterson? The only other ranking in which he is currently this low is the discussion of all-time great running backs and 2014 will be his next step to rectifying that and dropping the number.
8. Priefer to coach – Mike Priefer’s pending suspension will be the least of his tense moments over the next couple of months. He’s likely to get asked “60 Minutes”-style questioning every time he hits the podium in Mankato.
9. Show me the money – The Vikings have three critical players all coming off injury-plagued seasons that major decisions are going to have to be made with – Kyle Rudolph, Matt Kalil and Harrison Smith. All three will be looking to put up the kind of season that gets the Vikings to commit long-term. With millions of dollars at stake, it’s a big year for all three.
10. The great outdoors – We’ve known for some time that the Vikings are going to play outdoors. The reality starts in three weeks when the Vikings play their first preseason game at TCF Bank Stadium with a temperature of about 80 or 90 degrees. That’s not where the questioning will go.
There will be hundreds of stories – great and small – told during training camp, but these are the ones that likely will be the most newsworthy. For the lazy, here’s your worksheet. For the initiated, get your popcorn ready.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.