- With only four draft picks, the Patriots allocated a considerable amount of funds to their UDFAs. The Pats guaranteed $415K to their 19-man UDFA class, according to Mike Reiss of ESPN.com. Reiss pointed this out after Mike Zimmer revealed the Vikings spent $192,500 on their 13-man class, which the coach said was the most in his four years. The Packers, meanwhile, guaranteed their 20-man pool just $63K. The Pats were aggressive with possible late-round picks that slipped out of the draft in BYU linebacker Harvey Langi — who took up a sizable portion of New England’s total with a $100K base salary guarantee and $15K signing bonus — and Wyoming tight end Jacob Hollister, Reiss reports.
- Jerick McKinnon has largely been forgotten in the Vikings‘ backfield competition this offseason, but the fourth-year back remains on the roster and has added some weight to his lighter (for an NFL running back) frame. The 5-foot-9 McKinnon bulked up to 211 pounds from 200 this offseason, per Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press. That said, the Vikes signed Latavius Murray and used a second-round pick on Dalvin Cook. It’s likely McKinnon — a former college quarterback — will be the No. 3 back.
- The Vikings have signed two fourth-rounders – defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson (Iowa) and linebacker Ben Gedeon (Michigan) – as well as fifth-round offensive lineman Danny Isidora (Miami), writes Lindsay Young of the team’s website. Johnson became a full-time player with the Hawkeyes in 2015 and combined for 15.5 tackles for loss and 11 sacks over the past two years, and could develop into a pass-rushing threat in the pros. Geodeon was quite productive with the Wolverines last season, recording 94 tackles (15 for loss) and 4.5 sacks, though Zierlein contends that he’s not fast enough to become an impact defender at the highest level. Isidora, a three-year starter at right guard as a Hurricane, earned second-team all-ACC honors in 2016. Although Isidora was a late-round pick, he has the potential to start in the NFL, per Zierlein.
- The Vikings have finally gotten to work on signing their 11 picks, having come to terms with fifth-round receiver Rodney Adams (No. 170 overall) and seventh-round defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo (No. 220), per Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune. Formerly with both Toledo and South Florida, the speedy Adams is likely to make an impact as a kick returner and/or a fourth or fifth receiver early in his career, according to Zierlein. Odenigbo, meanwhile, was a prolific sack artist at Northwestern, where he took down opposing quarterbacks 23 times over four seasons – including a personal-best 10 in 2016.
- There is no guaranteed money in Michael Floyd‘s one-year, $1.41MM deal with the Vikings, Ben Goessling of ESPN.com tweets. In theory, Minnesota could cut Floyd before the season without financial penalty. On the flipside, Floyd’s deal could reportedly pay as much as $6MM if he reaches all of his incentives.
- Like Quessenberry, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater took to the practice field for the first time in a while on Tuesday (a devastating knee injury had kept Bridgewater completely out of action since last August). The 24-year-old then ventured to Dallas on Wednesday for a medical checkup that yielded positive news, reports Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (via Edward Lewis of NFL.com). Bridgewater’s doctor told him that “he’s making progress in his rehab and lateral movement,” writes Lewis.
- The Packers are working out former Texas Southern wide receiver Derrick Griffin today, tweets Mark Berman of FOX 26. Griffin was a two-sport athlete during his collegiate days, but was dismissed from the football team and left the basketball in order to prepare for the NFL draft, as Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle reported earlier this year. Griffin, who stands 6’6″, 240 pounds, auditioned for the Texans during their local prospect day and also landed a tryout at the Vikings’ rookie minicamp. Green Bay drafted two wideouts — Purdue’s DeAngelo Yancey and LSU’s Malachi Dupre — and also added two undrafted pass-catchers.
- The NFLPA is advising members of the Vikings‘ rookie class to not sign their contract until certain procedural language is cleared up, reports Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press. While Minnesota maintains that it’s offering standard rookie deals with no changes from years prior, the players’ union is concerned with language dealing with offsets and anti-tampering. None of the 11-member Vikings class is under contract, but they’re each participating in offseason activities after signing protective waivers.
In what is extremely uplifting news, Vikings quarterback Teddy Bridgewater returned to the practice field today, as documented in a short video posted on the club’s website. Bridgewater, of course, hasn’t been able to participate in football activities since tearing his ACL and dislocating his knee joint last August.
While the video is concise and doesn’t show much, Bridgewater is seen moving about, taking snaps, and throwing passes with a large brace on his left leg. Technically, Bridgewater didn’t “return to practice,” according to Matt Vensel of the Star Tribune (Twitter link), as the throws were part of Bridgewater’s recovery process. Still, as Vensel notes, simply witnessing Bridgewater able to perform some sort of football task is very encouraging.
Given that today marks the first we’ve seen of Bridgewater since last fall, it’s entirely unclear how far along he is in his rehabilitation, or what possibility exists of the 24-year-old playing during the 2017 campaign. Head coach Mike Zimmer admitted earlier this year that he has “no idea” when Bridgewater will fully return to action. With that in mind, the Viking signed veteran Case Keenum in March to back up starting quarterback Sam Bradford.
If Bridgewater doesn’t play next year, and spends the season on the reserve/PUP list, his contract could toll, meaning the Vikings would again hold his rights in 2018. However, Bridgewater and his representation could push back against any attempt by Minnesota to hold onto him for an additional year.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.