As the players for the Minnesota Vikings scattered away from Winter Park last week to enjoy a month of summer before training camp, the team looked poised to take another step forward following 2012's surprising 10-6 record and playoff appearance.
The Vikings appear to have had another stellar draft and have added several key free agents that have infused the roster with more depth and talent than it's had since 2009.
When the Vikings gather next month in Mankato to begin training camp, there will be several positions for which starting jobs will be up for grabs, and the competition should be intense. It's every position coach's dream to have multiple options on the depth chart, and the Vikings appear set to have several position battles in camp.
Minnesota drafted two guards that they're high on, and the rookies will push incumbents Charlie Johnson and Brandon Fusco. There will be a fierce battle at wide receiver, with Greg Jennings manning one spot while Jerome Simpson and rookie Cordarrrelle Patterson slug it out for the other spot. Jarius Wright will have first dibs on the slot position, with Joe Webb, Stephen Burton and perhaps Greg Childs all fighting for additional spots.
Harrison Smith will once again line up at free safety, but it's anybody's guess who among Jamarca Sanford, Mistral Raymond and Robert Blanton will snare the starting strong safety spot. Rest assured that all three will get their opportunities in training camp.
While those battles will be fun to watch unfold, the biggest question mark for Minnesota heading into camp is at linebacker. The late addition of former Packer Desmond Bishop adds depth and intrigue at a position where there were already more questions than answers.
Let's take a look at each of the players who will be vying for the linebacker jobs on the Vikings in 2013.