A welcomed sight hit the eyes of Minnesota Vikings fans and coaches during the team's Organized Team Activities (OTAs).
The Vikings wrapped up the week's activities Friday, and it appeared one offensive player was not only successfully coming back from a knee injury, but was becoming a weapon the offense could turn to.
Minnesota wide receiver Sidney Rice, who was largely ineffective after suffering a knee injury during Week Two last season, impressed coaches during OTAs. Rice made spectacular grabs during the week's practices, something Vikings fans missed last season after Rice had an impressive rookie season in 2007.
In addition to the work Rice went through preparing his knee for the workouts, the former second round draft pick from South Carolina improved his overall strength. According to Vikings.com, Rice added more muscle to his upper body and looks like he is in great shape.
Rice and various other Minnesota veterans were expected to be at the workouts, but Vikings head coach Brad Childress changed his expectations for veteran attendance. This summer, Childress has asked mainly rookies, free agents, and selected veterans to work out at the team's headquarters.
Although some veterans were given time off, most made their way onto the field.
“[I’m] still a mother hen, but mother knows what to expect from some of those guys that I didn’t invite to come out onto the grass,” Childress said on Thursday. “There are a couple of [veterans] that talked their way out there."
Childress took into consideration the reasons why players show up and how these workouts can benefit them.
"Everybody that’s here, we gave some thought to the whys and the what fors, whether it was people that were injured, people that maybe started on this roster after the start of our year and didn’t have a training camp," Childress said. "Obviously, the rookie guys.”
Childress was known as being a disciplinarian who held physical practices and expected his players to be on the field when he became head coach. Three years later, fans can see that time equals change.
The Vikings' next mini-camp workout starts on June 2 and will go through June 4. They have many workouts throughout the month of June, so stay tuned for all the updates from Winter Park.