Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn. -- Chuck Foreman knows plenty about the history of Vikings running backs, and he likes what he sees with the current group. Foreman was a Minnesota running back from 1973-79, and made five Pro Bowls. He has remained in the Twin Cities since his retirement, and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu invited him to have dinner last Wednesday, June 12, with Vikings backs at Andiamo Italian Ristorante in Eagan and offer advice. “This might be the best group of running backs from top to bottom that the Vikings ever have had in my opinion,’’ Foreman said.
EAGAN, Minn. -- When linebacker Anthony Barr spoke this week about the Vikings being “well equipped” to win the Super Bowl, he didn’t initially bring up the defense. Yes, Minnesota ranked fourth in the NFL last season in total defense while the offense was just 20th. But Barr talked about how the team’s new offensive system has been “challenging” to face in practice and he’s “excited to see what they can do.”
EAGAN, Minn. -- Sean Mannion is confident about being the Vikings’ backup quarterback. Mannion spent the spring competing with Kyle Sloter for the No. 2 spot, behind starter Kirk Cousins. The battle will continue when training camp starts in late July. “I feel great,” Mannion said Thursday after the conclusion of a three-day mandatory minicamp. “I feel like through 13 (spring) practices, I feel like I did a lot of good stuff. Certainly, you’re never perfect, so there’s things I can improve off of, but I feel real proud of the 13 practices I put out there.”
EAGAN, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said last week a goal of his for 2019 is getting quarterback Kirk Cousins to the “next level.” Spielman said one way to do that is using Cousins more in play action. Whatever the Vikings do, Cousins knows what the end result must be.
EAGAN, Minn. — Kyle Rudolph isn’t going anywhere. The Vikings tight end agreed to a four-year, $36 million contract extension, a source said Monday night, June 10. The deal will be signed Tuesday. Rudolph 29, was on the books to make $7.275 million in 2019, the final year of his contract, and have a cap number of $7.625 million. A source said Rudolph’s extension will “for sure” lower his salary-cap number but an exact number was not revealed.
EAGAN, Minn. — Kevin McDermott was unchallenged as the Vikings’ long snapper over the past three seasons. That changed this spring. Minnesota selected Air Force long snapper Austin Cutting in the seventh round of the NFL draft in April, and he has been competing with McDermott for a roster spot ever since. That continues during a three-day mandatory minicamp that starts Tuesday, June 11, at the TCO Performance Center.
EAGAN, Minn. -- When the Vikings selected tight end Irv Smith Jr. in the second round of April’s NFL draft, his father wasted no time in reaching out to Kyle Rudolph. Irv Smith Sr. was a tight end at Notre Dame from 1989-92 before playing in the NFL from 1993-99. He later met Rudolph, a Notre Dame tight end from 2008-10 before joining the Vikings. “As soon as my son was drafted, I sent Kyle a text,” said Smith Sr. “I said, ‘My son just got drafted.
EAGAN, Minn. -- For Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, 2019 is about getting quarterback Kirk Cousins to the “next level.” The Vikings signed Cousins to a three-year, $84 million contract in March 2018, making him at the time the highest-paid player in NFL history. It didn’t translate into wins, though, as the Vikings slipped from a spot in the NFC Championship Game in 2017 with Case Keenum at quarterback to 8-7-1 and out of the playoffs in 2018 with Cousins running the offense.
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings coach Mike Zimmer was talking about Garrett Bradbury after a recent practice when he looked up and saw his rookie center was still on the field. “He’s still staying out there working I see right now,” Zimmer said. Bradbury was snapping to rookie quarterback Jake Browning after the other players had left the field following an organized activities session at the TCO Performance Center. Bradbury, taken with the No. 18 pick in April’s draft and already anointed the expected opening-game starter, is doing everything extra he can.
EAGAN, Minn. — The previous time the Vikings signed a free-agent backup quarterback away from the Los Angeles Rams, it turned out quite well. Two years ago, it was Case Keenum the Vikings picked up. He became the starter when Sam Bradford got hurt, and led the Vikings to the NFC Championship Game. In April, Minnesota signed Sean Mannion after four years with the Rams, two as Keenum’s teammate. Not surprisingly, Mannion reached out to Keenum before he signed. And he got an assist from his wife Megan.