Installation of New Schemes Goes Well

The Vikings – both players and coaches – are ready to enjoy some time off after a few months of minicamps and other practices that started in April. They used that time to install a new offense and a new defense, and judging by coaching comments, that process has gone well.

The Vikings completed their offseason program with a two-day minicamp last week at their Winter Park facility in Eden Prairie.

First-year coach Brad Childress — who is overseeing the installation of both a new offense (West Coast) and defense (Tampa-2) — seemed pleased after three minicamps and two weeks of Organized Team Activities.

"I think they have done a lot in terms of learning," he said. "I've seen great progress. ... I've seen particularly wide receivers and tight ends improving in understanding conceptually what it is we are trying to do and them using freedom and their athletic ability and being able to wiggle themselves open.

"Now it all goes to another level when somebody is hitting you in the throat and you're trying to think about what you're supposed to be doing."

Both offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin stressed there remains plenty of work for players when they arrive at training camp late next month in Mankato, Minn. "You start over from scratch and keep building on it everyday," Bevell said.

Childress, of course, has plenty to do with the adjustment to the West Coast system. The former Philadelphia offensive coordinator will call plays in Minnesota, just as his ex-boss, Andy Reid, did with the Eagles.

Tomlin, meanwhile, has been working on getting the defense to adjust to a scheme that has been successful in Tampa Bay for many years and also is used by the Vikings' NFC North rival, Chicago.

"I'm very pleased, but at the same time we realize that we have a lot of work to do," Tomlin said. "Football is a game that is played in pads. What we've been able to do in terms of the structure of the offseason has been good but we have miles to go in terms of being football ready."

For now, though, Childress wants his players to get away from football and enjoy some free time before the long season begins.

"I think somewhere you have to get away and you have to get your mind fresh," he said. "You know what you know. I don't think the blackboard will get erased here. ... They've had a great offseason in terms of work. They have to get their minds right and get their bodies right because we start a marathon on July 27."

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