EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Every team has its own approach to offseason training, organized team activities and expectations for established players. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that the Minnesota Vikings are on the lower end of veteran participation this spring in the NFC North.
I wouldn't classify that dynamic as anything other than fact. I don't see it as a positive or a negative. It's actually the same approach coach Brad Childress has taken in recent years, focusing most OTAs on young players and the back end of the roster, and really shouldn't be taken as illustrative of anything beyond some star-less practices.
Tailback Adrian Peterson and receiver Percy Harvin have been working out on their own in their home states. Quarterback Brett Favre, in case you hadn't heard, hasn't committed to playing in 2010 and thus hasn't been a part of the offseason program. In the practices I've covered, receiver Sidney Rice and cornerback Antoine Winfield haven't been seen. Typically, veterans that do participate head indoors for individual workouts during the majority of practice.
This is different, but not necessarily better or worse, than the way the Green Bay Packers are operating. Based on reports, the only players consistently missing OTA practices are three restricted free agents who have yet to sign their tenders -- defensive end Johnny Jolly, cornerback Tramon Williams and safety Atari Bigby. I'm not aware of any major absences in Detroit or Chicago.
Childress scripts these events to minimize veteran exertion, but there is a distinction between participating lightly and staying out of town. If there is anything to be concerned about, it's that both players have been physically separated from the team since the NFC Championship Game. Peterson has been working out in Houston, while Harvin is in Florida.
Childress said he has spoken with Peterson "on a number of different occasions." But if you were hoping the Vikings would initiate a formal offseason intervention to correct Peterson's fumbling issues, let's just say the opportunities have been limited. Childress said he "absolutely" would have preferred Peterson to participate in the offseason program but said: "I'm pretty sure what he's doing down in Houston is not on a lark. He'll be where he needs to be when next we see him."
The same goes for Harvin, whom Childress said he saw during a pre-draft trip to Gainesville, Fla. "I can account for what I saw of Percy in Florida, and what he had gained in strength and weight-wise," Childress said. "He's not being a slackard, either."
Besides, who would want to spend a spring in Minnesota if they didn't have to?