Highlights and notes from Day 1 of minicamp

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After closing the curtains on organized team activities, the Minnesota Vikings finish things off with mandatory minicamp this week.

They kick-started the festivities on Tuesday with the team gathering on the practice field for another week of work. This is the time where we get the best glimpse of where things stand ahead of training camp later this summer.

The pads haven’t come on yet. So these practices are still more about drilling positioning and technique. But it doesn’t mean things aren’t getting competitive out there between the offense and defense, along with the ongoing position battles on the roster.

Here are some notes and highlights from Day 1.

Ihmir Smith-Marsette in a walking boot

Last week, it was revealed that Ihmir Smith-Marsette would miss the rest of the spring practices with a “lower leg” injury. Well, the second-year receiver showed up to the first day of minicamp in a walking boot.

The hope is that he’ll be back on the field by the time training camp rolls around, but it’s obviously something worth monitoring moving forward.

K.J. Osborn was also held out of practice with an undisclosed injury after missing the tail-end of OTAs last week. With Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen owning the top-two spots on the receiver depth chart, this would be a a great time for someone else to shine in that No. 3 or No. 4 role.

Offensive line shuffling

You never want to read too deeply into things this early, but there’s clearly some substance behind Jesse Davis continuing to take the starting reps at right guard.

The former Miami Dolphin could be working his way towards making it his permanent spot in the lineup. Granted, Chris Reed is also deep in on the competition as well.

Speaking of competition, center Garrett Bradbury also needs to be worried about Reed. When talking with the media, via the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson, offensive line coach Chris Kuper acknowledged the competition brewing, even though Bradbury remains out in front for now.

“They’re all pushing each other,” said Kuper. “Garrett’s taken every rep with the ones. He’s been doing a great job. Those things get sorted out when we get pads on… in camp”

Offense clicking early

The good thing about this offense is the naturally built-in chemistry between quarterback Kirk Cousins and his receivers. And boy, doesn’t he have two great ones to work with?

Jefferson and Thielen were on the field making plays all day on Tuesday. It’s clear the dynamic duo will continue to pose a big threat for opposing defenses. Coach Kevin O’Connell is sinking his teeth into the offense, and it’s showing right out of the gates.

The unit especially looked sharp in the two-minute drill, where Cousins marched the team nearly 50 yards down the field with supreme confidence. That’s the sort of effort that wins football games.

Danielle Hunter on the move

Expect to see Danielle Hunter on the move in this defense.

Linebackers coach Mike Smith is talking about moving Hunter around the same way he did with Za’Darius Smith when they were together with the Green Bay Packers.

There’s going to be a lot of shuffling in Ed Donatell’s hybrid defense in an attempt to keep offenses guessing. It’ll pay off having two versatile, explosive talents like Smith and Hunter to make it all work.

If the secondary can hold up its end, the Vikings defense could finally start cooking in 2022.

Minicamp Day 1 highlights

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