See You July 27

The Vikings used every one of the days and practice sessions the National Football League allows as a way to implement their new offense and defense and let the coaches get to know the personnel. But now Winter Park slows to a crawl until the players arrive in Mankato starting July 27.

In all, there were three different minicamps and 14 days of the newly discovered acronym OTA (Offseason Team Activities) for Brad Childress and his new-look Vikings.

But, as the curtain closed on yesterday's final OTA session, the Vikings' official work with players and coaches is completed. Players aren't scheduled to return until July 27, when rookies and selected veterans make their first appearance at training camp.

While there has been varying degrees of enthusiasm about the increase in minicamps and the creation of OTAs -- many big-name veteran players have all but refused to take part in any non-mandatory offseason work in the NFL -- the additional practice time has been critical for the Vikings. They are transforming both the offense and the defense and doing it on the fly with much the same personnel that is making the transition.

That being said, the Vikings have received mixed reviews. Brad Childress, who will call the plays for the offense, said the team is making good progress and that Brad Johnson has a nice grasp of the offense and the terminology involved.

Defensively, coordinator Mike Tomlin said he was very pleased with the progress the defense has made, but that they "have miles to go to be football-ready."

With five weeks to go until training camp begins, the excitement among Vikings fans will mount, but, if the team is successful, much of the credit may get thrown back to the work done during these sessions.

* Former Vikings guard Toniu Fonoti was a no-show at the first day of Bucs minicamp and his absence was unexcused by head coach Jon Gruden.
* Former Vikings quarterback Todd Bouman will conduct a football camp at Becker (Minn.) High School June 27-29. Former Vikings RB Michael Bennett is expected to also attend the camp. For those interested in getting more information, go to

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