Today is an Important Day for NFL Teams, Vikings Foremost Among Them

NFL: Minnesota Vikings Training Camp
Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Truth be told, the NFL is a 365-day operation. For the players, though, there can be some much-needed and much-deserved time off through the winter and spring.

However, we’ve officially arrived at the portion of the year when things get going. All NFL teams can start to get the players into their building for offseason training. From here until training camp kicks off in late July, the offseason program will be somewhat choppy, but things are underway.

NFL Teams Get Their Offseason Training Started

Take a look at the update from Field Yates of ESPN:

Somewhat infamously, the Cardinals decided to include a home study portion in Kyler Murray’s contract extension (that was later removed following the controversy). The huge bonus to show up for voluntary workouts may be another indication that Arizona doesn’t have 100% confidence in their QB1.

Davenport’s inclusion is very likely influenced by his history of injury. As many have pointed out, Davenport has struggled to stay on the field, topping out at 532 snaps in a single season – and that was back in 2019. For reference, Danielle Hunter played 906 snaps last year, well above Davenport’s career best.

Clearly, the team is looking to incentivize not just offseason training but training in a specific manner. The pass rusher can have an extra $1 million added onto his deal in exchange for his attendance and participation. Not bad.

Feb 6, 2022; Paradise, Nevada, USA; NFC quarterback Kyler Murray. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The initial phase of Minnesota’s offseason will consist of workouts and maintaining health (or getting healthy, if needed). Much of the goal is simply to unravel a plan of attack for the players to get into/stay in great shape as the season inches closer. Teams aren’t going to be in full pads doing the Oklahoma drill.

In the recent NFLPA survey, the Vikings received exemplary grades across the board. The health/training/nutrition staff were part of the positive feedback. Minnesota’s training staff and facilities attained top grades: “The Vikings, headquartered at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, received A-plus grades in strength coaches, training room, training staff and locker room. They tied for first place in all four categories.”

NFL: International Series-Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints
Oct 2, 2022; London, United Kingdom; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) is pressured by New Orleans Saints defensive end Cameron Jordan (94) and defensive end Marcus Davenport (92) during an NFL International Series game at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

At this point in the offseason, the health, training, and nutrition portion of the Vikings’ staff will be crucial.

In last week’s press conference, Kevin O’Connell confirmed that attending is voluntary. He did note, though, that he’s expecting a strong turnout following last season’s great attendance. The Vikings are looking to build off a reasonably successful 2022. Climbing to 13 wins was impressive but falling flat against the Giants (and while at home, no less) put a damper on things.

Currently, Marcus Davenport carries a $5,964,706 cap charge, per OTC. His deal kicks a fair amount of dead money into Minnesota’s reasonably robust 2024 finances. In a perfect world, he stays healthy and plays so well that both sides become amenable to an extension that works splendidly for both sides.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference and Over the Cap helped with this piece.