There was a time when most NFL players would spend their offseasons working insurance or real estate jobs. They were just regular Joes trying to make ends meet, who would happen to need time off come mid-July to head off to training camp and get themselves into shape for the coming season.
Not so anymore, as even the most highly paid and talented players in the league are reduced to taking no more than six to eight weeks off before getting back to some type of training regimen.
This last week of May has brought almost every Minnesota Viking player to Winter Park in Eden Prairie, as the Vikings conduct their first stretch of OTAs. Jared Allen, who trains on his own for most of the spring and summer, is the only name of any consequence not in town, and he'll apparently be there for next week's practices.
There are no lack of storylines for the Vikings as they reconvene as a full team once again—the biggest changes being the departures of Percy Harvin, Antoine Winfield and Jasper Brinkley. It's out with the old and in with the new, as the Vikings bring in free-agent signees Greg Jennings and Matt Cassel, along with first-round draft picks Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarrelle Patterson.
It doesn't just feel like football weather, the familiar sounds of football practice are back in Eden Prairie. Let's take a look at some of the early developments from the Vikings' OTAs.