The Vikings released a video with Rick Spielman giving a preview about the offensive personnel heading into training camp, and while there is nothing earth-shattering in his comments, there are a few noteworthy points he made, which suggest where some players stand as the Vikings head into Mankato.
One of the first things I noted was the mention Spielman gave to Danny Isidora, a guard the Vikings acquired in the 5th round. I did a profile on Isidora back in June, and he seems to have impressed the Vikings coaching staff sufficiently to get a shout-out of sorts from Spielman. I doubt he makes the starting line-up, but I suspect he may be on his way to being the primary backup at guard this year, and a leading candidate to replace Joe Berger next season.
Spielman also confirmed that TJ Clemmings has officially been moved inside to guard as well. Clemmings’ struggles at both tackle spots have been well documented, so perhaps moving inside (they tried him briefly there a couple years ago) may help eliminate his struggles with edge rushers in space. Playing a new position may also help him improve his confidence, which has been badly shaken over his first couple years, being thrust into starting positions he was not ready for. Again, he’s not gonna be a starter this year (thankfully), but he’s always had the athleticism and traits to play just about anywhere along the OL, but his technique, confidence, and perhaps core strength have been found wanting in the past.
On the other side of being mentioned, there is MoBo- who was not. Spielman listed Michael Floyd, Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs, Laquon Treadwell and Jarius Wright as their top 5 receivers, with Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley acquired and could provide some special teams ability. That doesn’t bode well for guys like Isaac Fruechte or Caleb Jones either.
Spielman talked about Bridgewater continuing to rehab in training camp, and then a “we’ll see” beyond that. He said the Vikings were lucky to have both Bridgewater and Bradford on the roster, and depending on how things work out with Teddy, Case Keenum and Taylor Heinicke will battle it out for the backup or 3rd QB spot. That is mildly encouraging in regard to Bridgewater’s rehab, as it implies Bridgewater could be ready for backup duty at some point in the not too distant future. I suspect Bridgewater will be on the PUP list to begin the year, but will become the backup after that 7 game stretch is over, provided he is given the okay to play at that point. That allows his contract to toll, and give the Vikings two options at QB that they will have under contract if Bridgewater’s contract tolls and they can at least put a franchise tag on Bradford if nothing else.
Spielman also mentioned Elflein of course, as a 3rd round pick this year. I did a profile on him shortly after he was drafted, and despite Nick Easton getting the first team reps so far in mini-camp and OTAs, I got the feeling from Spielman’s words that Elflein will likely emerge the starter at center by the time camp is over. Spielman did say that Nick Easton would be battling him for the starting job, but it seemed more of an after-thought. We’ll see how it plays out.
I’m probably reading too much into this, but I was surprised Michael Floyd got as much billing as he did- probably simply because he was the most prominent new guy in the group. Spielman also talked about the ‘emergence’ of Laquon Treadwell in the off-season program so far, which is another confirmation that Treadwell will be the starting 3rd WR for at least the first four games, given Floyd’s suspension. Spielman also gave a positive mention to Jarius Wright, which can be taken two ways considering the Vikings were rumored to be shopping him last year, but I think the Vikings will keep him as a vet who has produced in limited duty in the past, primarily as a slot receiver, and a guy who could do well in Shurmur’s offense.
In this group Spielman went through the whole depth chart, and was notable for his praise of the depth players in David Morgan and Bucky Hodges, which extended to Nick Truesdell and Kyle Carter. It’s not the first time Truesdell has been mentioned positively this off-season either, which suggests he may make it as a 4th tight-end behind Rudolph, Morgan and Hodges.
This is another group where the more notable comments were regarding the depth players- both Dalvin Cook at Latavius Murray got their due- Jerick McKinnon as well. But CJ Ham was also given some praise- not the first time this off-season either- which suggests he’ll get a roster spot as a fullback and special teams guy.
There weren’t too many surprises, but some clarification and perhaps some indirect status updates on where players stand in the depth charts.