The Vikings’ 2012 rookies won’t have the same problem last year’s rookies had. Because of the lockout, offseason activities were curtailed in 2011, and this certainly impacted the development of guys like Christian Ponder and Kyle Rudolph. No lockout this year means a full offseason slate for the newest crop of Vikings including #4 overall draft pick Matt Kalil, first rounder Harrison Smith and handful of other draft picks, 15 UFA signees and a bunch of long-shots who have been invited to try out.
Minnesota sports fans will be familiar with some of the minicamp invitees who will be auditioning for the Vikings. The list features multiple Gophers including Nick Tow-Arnett, Anthony Jacobs, Brandon Kirskey and Da’jon McKnight. Kim Royston was also invited but is unable to attend due to a stress fracture in his leg. Also among the invitees is Marcus Fitzgerald, the brother of Cardinals star Larry Fitzgerald. Mike Singletary’s son Matt will also get a look.
And if you think these rookie auditions don’t matter? Just consider the case of Marcus Sherels, who was invited to rookie minicamp in 2010 and in 2011 ended up as a return man and reserve cornerback for the team. One of these guys may stick. It’s worth keeping an eye on the dispatches from the beat reporters, who will no doubt be tweeting up a storm as they get their first look at all these new additions – and potential new additions – to the squad.
And in case some of you are wondering…no, the veterans don’t get to practice with the rookies. That’s why it’s called rookie minicamp.