Next weekend will provide Vikings coaches with the first opportunity to look at the full squad of talent assembled this year. Matt Birk, Chester Taylor and the rest of the team are expected to attend the mandatory camp.
With a week to go until the Vikings' full-roster minicamp, the excitement surrounding the Vikings is palpable, despite training camp still being almost two months away. With the offseason additions to the team and the return of stars like Adrian Peterson
, the outlook for the Vikings in 2008 is about as optimistic as it has been in years.
One of the questions heading into the offseason surrounded the disposition of Pro Bowl center Matt Birk
. While Birk has skipped the team's voluntary offseason team activities, it appears as though Matt Birk will keep his word and attend the mandatory workouts at minicamp. Birk, who is entering the final year of his current contract, is going to be in attendance, according to his agent. That should put the Vikings at full strength heading into minicamp.
Vikings fans have been awaiting the start of the 2008 season since the team signed free agents like Bernard Berrian
and Madieu Williams
and made the blockbuster trade to acquire Jared Allen
. The anticipated improvements have made the Vikings a favorite to unseat the Packers as the top dog in the NFC North.
Next week, they get the process started with the team's minicamp, and fans and players alike are chomping at the bit to get started.
The minicamp and training camp rosters will be somewhat reduced this season because of the folding of NFL Europa. In previous season, the league had 80-man roster limits, but allowed teams up to six exemptions for players that were allocated to that league to get adjusted to their NFL team in training camp. With NFL Europa now a memory, so too are the exemptions. Roster limits will remain at 80 for this season with no exemptions. That means coaches around the league, including Brad Childress, are taking that into consideration as they form their training camp regimen.
One of the things that may be determined at minicamp is which defensive player will wear the radio helmet to get signals from the sideline. The NFL owners approved adding a defensive player to wear the communications helmets, but, unlike on offense where quarterbacks have the helmets and are on the field for every play, there has been some confusion as to who will wear the headset for the defense. The most logical pick would be middle linebacker, but since defensive players shuttle in and out of the lineup much more frequently, it may not be the case will every team.
Former Viking Brian Williams spent the Jacksonville minicamp playing at cornerback, but the team is expected to move him to safety this summer during the preseason.
It took just 90 minutes for the initial allotment of 40,000 tickets for the Week 8 matchup between New Orleans and San Diego in London to sell out. The speed with which the tickets sold came as a surprise to even NFL officials, who were convinced the game would sell out, but not this fast.
The Edmonton Eskimos of the CFL are apparently raving about former Viking Kelly Campbell, who is trying to make the roster after finding no interest from NFL teams. A story in the Edmonton Sun claims the team was looking at Campbell as far back as his college days and are happy to finally have him.