Highlights and notes from Week 2 Vikings OTAs

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Another week is in the books for the Minnesota Vikings’ organized team activities.

Last week was all about integrating the rookies and veterans on the field together in helmets and shorts. This week consisted of more drills and an attempt towards putting a pretty bow on everything by seeing new concepts in action.

You still have to be careful to not overreact to some of the things emanating out of OTAs since it’s still so early in the process. We’ll have a real sense of where players are at once they’ve actually had time to digest things and the pads come on.

But the buzz in Minnesota right now is undeniable. There’s a different level of excitement surrounding this Vikings team—and for good reason. The hope is that big things are ahead under the guidance of head coach Kevin O’Connell, who knows what it takes to win a Super Bowl. And it all begins with preparation.

Here are some highlights and notes from Week 2 of OTAs.

Monstrous pass rush arising?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings cornerback Patrick Peterson is already seeing signs of something special emerging between the Pro Bowl duo of Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith up front.

Even without pads on, he admitted the speed at which the pocket is collapsing on the field is something he’s never really experienced before on a team.

Considering the Vikings didn’t have Hunter for most of last season and they didn’t have Smith at all, it’s safe to say the team’s pass-rushing ability will make a huge leap from 2021.

“Going through those six practices now, although we don’t have any pads on right now, so guys are getting their first two-step bursts and kind of shutting it down there, but just seeing how fast that pocket collapse, when we do have those team periods, it’s magical to watch,” said Peterson, during an appearance on All Things Covered.

It’s going to be fun seeing both Hunter and Smith tested right out of the gates in Week 1 against Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

Osborn praise is running hot

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After praising Hunter and Smith, Peterson also had some positive things to say about K.J. Osborn on the offensive side of the ball. The legendary defensive back said he believed Osborn could be a “1,000-yard guy” in 2022.

That’s a big statement coming off the heels of Osborn’s breakout year in the league, where he hauled in 50 receptions for 655 yards and seven touchdowns.

Even veteran wideout Adam Thielen named Osborn as a player that has consistently flown under the radar that people should be watching.

“Not a lot of people talk about K.J., but what he’s been able to do the last couple seasons, making plays in big moments,” Thielen told Bryant McFadden on All Things Covered. “When I went down last year, he came in and didn’t miss a beat, making big play after big play.”

With so many other weapons on the field, Osborn is going to have a chance to exploit some mismatches as a third option at receiver this season.

Get ready for legitimate camp competition

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Special teams coordinator Matt Daniels was open an honest when he told the media Gabe Brkic and Ryan Wright aren’t just camp bodies. They were brought onto the Vikings roster to push Greg Joseph and Jordan Berry for their starting jobs,

“There will be a full-on kicker competition and punter competition. That’s why we brought in guys like Gabe Brkic and Ryan Wright is to really push those veterans that we have,” said Daniels.

Brkic is a player that has especially excelled in high-pressure moments during his time at Oklahoma. His competition with Joseph will be a fun one to watch considering the up and down year Joseph had last season.

The NFL veteran signed a $2.4 million restricted free agent tender in free agency, but none of that money is guaranteed if he gets beat out by Brkic.

Donatell tips his cap to the offense

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings defensive coordinator Ed Donatell seemed impressed when talking about the other side of the ball on Tuesday. He talked about the “cutting edge” formations being utilized on the field by coach O’Connell and offensive coordinator Wes Phillips’ offense.

It’s a case of iron sharpening iron on the practice field.

“One of the great things is the offense we get to see every day. Our offense has cutting edge schemes and formations. And that helps us get better. What Kevin and Wes has put together, it can only help us get better,” said Donatell.

O’Connell proved to be one of the game’s most creative play-callers in his Super Bowl run with the Los Angeles Rams. Given the deep cast of talent on the Vikings’ roster, it’s going to be interesting seeing him bring some of those same concepts to life in Minnesota.

Cam Dantzler 2.0 has arrived

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Cam Dantzler has done more than just put on some muscle and change his jersey number. He’s had a complete mental shift after a turbulent season, where he was benched in favor of Bashaud Breeland.

The Vikings cornerback sees the writing on the wall with rookie second-round draft pick Andrew Booth Jr. coming onto the team. It’s going to be a tough competition to even get on the field with Patrick Peterson and Chandon Sullivan also in the mix.

Last year’s version of Dantzler might have lashed out at the thought of potentially being benched, but the maturing veteran is willing to do whatever it takes to help the team win, even if it means not being in on the majority of the snaps.

“When we drafted [Booth Jr.], I was excited,” Dantzler told the Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson. “I was glad to add some firepower in the secondary. Booth, he’s a great player, and I’m going to love competing with him. Whoever starts, it’s whatever helps the team win at the end of the day. … But it’s going to be a great battle.”

Kellen Mond has a real shot this time around

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It seemed pretty obvious Mike Zimmer wasn’t all-in on Kellen Mond as a quarterback. So it clearly made for a challenging and sometimes even awkward transition from college to the NFL for the third-round pick out of Texas A&M.

And yet, multiple coaches have sung his praises in the early practices, including O’Connell and Phillips.

“Kellen is very sharp. He has really picked up the offense very well,” said Phillips. “…He’s done a really nice job getting up to speed with our offense, our terminology. He’s calling the plays really well in the huddle, and his eyes are in the right place.”

In what many consider to be a quarterback-friendly offense, Mond has the potential to develop into a legitimate backup behind Kirk Cousins. And who knows?

Maybe he has the stuff to go even further than that someday.

OTAs Day 4 highlights

OTAs Day 5 highlights

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Day 5 highlights 

OTAs Day 6 highlights

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