There hasn't been a lot of coverage of the first round of Organized Team Activities for the Minnesota Vikings thus far, but there's enough around the internet out there to give us a few things to talk about.
One of the more interesting developments to come out of the first round of practices this week has to do with the position that probably has the most intrigue for the team going into the season, that being the offensive line. According to the report from Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, here is what the first-team offensive line looked like:
LT Jeremiah Sirles
LG Alex Boone
C Joe Berger
RG Brandon Fusco
RT Phil Loadholt
To borrow from a notable song from my youth, one of these things is not like the others.
Yes, the Vikings' regular starting offensive tackle, Matt Kalil, was in uniform for the Vikings at the OTAs, but apparently the team wanted to get a look at Sirles. The team acquired him from the San Diego Chargers in exchange for a sixth-round pick after Training Camp last year, but Sirles spent the entire season inactive. With Kalil in a make-or-break year after getting his fifth-year option picked up, the Vikings might be looking at whether or not Sirles could be a viable option if Kalil doesn't regain his rookie form.
Berger appears to have a leg up on John Sullivan at center thus far, though it's early. Frankly, it's a bit more surprising to me to see Phil Loadholt at right tackle with the first team ahead of Andre Smith at this point. Loadholt hasn't played in a meaningful game since Week 11 of the 2014 season because of injury, and it looks like the rust was showing.
(3) It’s obviously early, but Danielle Hunter is KILLING Phil Loadholt one-on-one. #AFewObservations #VikingsOTAs— Aj Mansour (@AjKFAN) May 25, 2016
Then again, in Loadholt's defense, I have a funny feeling that Danielle Hunter is going to be making a lot of offensive tackles look silly this year.
Another of the team's veteran free agent signings, safety Michael Griffin, has also found himself with the second-team in early practices. It appears that Andrew Sendejo is going to have the first shot at retaining his spot next to Harrison Smith, as he was with the first team at safety. One name to keep an eye on here, in my opinion, is Anthony Harris. Harris acquitted himself pretty well on short notice last season, and with a full season of NFL development under his belt will hopefully challenge for a bigger role this season.
One mildly disappointing development involves defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd, who sat out the team's practice early in the week. It appears that he's still fighting some of the injuries that hobbled him last year.
Asked if Floyd's injuries have carried over from last season, when he battled knee and ankle issues, Zimmer said, "It's basically from last year."
The Vikings have already picked up Floyd's fifth-year option, so he's under contract through the 2017 season. Still, while he's been pretty outstanding when he's been on the field, he's shown a propensity to get banged up. Hopefully, as Zimmer said in the same article, this won't carry on all the way into Training Camp.
The Vikings' next round of OTAs will kick off on Tuesday, 31 May, and will run through Thursday, 2 June. Hopefully there will be more news this next time around than there's been so far.