EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings concentrated heavily on the Pac-12 conference early in the NFL draft this year, spending three of their first five picks on players from that conference. After their rookie minicamp, then, the Vikings will have to handle a unique wrinkle in the rookie development process.
Linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive end Scott Crichton and guard David Yankey are all on the quarters system at UCLA, Oregon State and Stanford, meaning they won't be done with classes until June and will head back to college after the Vikings' rookie camp. The quarters system is used by schools in California, Oregon and Washington, and the Vikings' heavy concentration on players from the West Coast means they'll send them back to school with some homework.
"I think the guys that we drafted that are on the quarters system, the biggest thing is, really, the techniques," Zimmer said. "I want them to learn how we're lifting, how we approach the different techniques, the different coverages part of things. And then the offensive line, with Yankey, more about the techniques with him, play calls, the terminology, things like that -- things they can take and go back to their schools and work on. The other guys will be here, so it's not difficult."
Barr's transition from running back to linebacker two years ago has claimed plenty of attention since the Vikings made him the ninth pick in the draft last week, but Zimmer said again on Friday that Barr's relative inexperience at the position isn't showing, and added he'll spend some time with Barr, Crichton and Yankey on their campuses before the end of the school year.
"He was pretty good out there this morning, with the reads and the alignments and all the different things," he said. "We’ll have a plan for when he leaves. That’s one of the things we talked about with these three guys with the coaches, and we'll move forward from there since they’re not going to be here for these OTAs. So we’ll get him the weight program, make sure they get right with the strength coach that knows what we want done. We’re going to go out and see these guys. Can’t work them on the field, but we can go out and see them and spend a little time with them. Coaches will go out there and spend time with them, watch tape with them, talk to them about those types of things. We’ll give them a list of things that we think they need after this weekend, what we think they need to improve on in order to catch up to the other guys."
Fresno State guard Austin Wentworth, who had been on the Vikings' initial list of undrafted free agents but was later removed, is also back with the team; Fresno State is also on quarters, and a team spokesman said Wentworth had to get his school schedule squared away before the Vikings signed him. With the addition of Wentworth, the Vikings' roster is now at 90 players, meaning they would have to cut someone if they wanted to add another player at some point.