The Vikings have announced their 2021 off-season schedule, as follows:
ROOKIE MINI-CAMP: May 14-16.
OTAs: May 24-26; June 1-3, 8-11 and 15-17.
MANDATORY MINICAMP: June 15-17
This coming weekend will be the Vikings’ coaches first opportunity to work with their new draftees and college free-agent signings, and will be an important first step in getting them acclimated to the Vikings and allowing coaches to see what they can and cannot do.
The NFLPA has been taking a hard stance against voluntary off-season workouts, and working out at team facilities, recommending to its members that they stay away from them, including rookies, so it will be interesting to see what kind of attendance the Vikings have at the first two off-season programs. All players must attend the mandatory minicamp in June.
Veterans across the league have announced that many will not attend voluntary workouts this year, including “many” Vikings veterans. The recent likely season-ending injury to the Broncos’ right tackle Ja’wuan James, which occurred while working out away from team facilities and which could cost him over $10 million in lost salary, may result in some players reconsidering whether they want to take on the risk of lost salaries should the suffer an injury away from team facilities.
The standard NFL player contract, since 1977, includes language that player workouts outside of team facilities are not covered by any injury salary guarantees or insurance coverage. Instead, they are treated as non-football injuries and can result in substantial salary loss for the player, depending on the severity of the injury. In practice, teams may sometimes pay the player salary in these instances, although they are not required to do so.
But with the recent stand-off between the NFLPA and NFL regarding off-season workouts, the Broncos may be encouraged by the league to abide by the letter of the contract and not pay James’ salary this year, in order to prove the point and encourage players to workout at team facilities and attend voluntary workouts. Doing so eliminates the risk of salary loss should they get injured while working out away from team facilities. It also helps in the off-season process of team building.
In the past, the Vikings have always had very high turnout for voluntary off-season workouts. It will be interesting to see what the attendance is like this year.