The Vikings offense has most of the eyes in camp due to the mystery surrounding several position groups. One group going under the radar is the wide receivers, which has some major question marks at the back end. Upwards of 10 guys could be in play to nab two roster spots at the position. Vikings offensive coordinator John DeFilippo met the media Thursday to field questions on this group, as well as status of other key players and positions in camp.
On receivers Jake Wieneke, Stacy Coley and Brandon Zylstra
“Jake is just a really smart guy. He’s assignment perfect. Very rarely does he have a mental bust. He’s running good routes. For a guy that’s a big guy like that (6-foot4, 220), you have to be assignment perfect and route perfect to use your body to be able to get open…when you’re not a burner. And obviously hands, he has fantastic hands.
“It was good to see Stacy back out there yesterday. He had a couple really nice second-level releases yesterday. We’re looking forward to him having a big camp. He needs to continue what he was doing before he had the injury in spring because he was doing some really nice things for us.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing that next step from Brandon in terms of putting the pads on. I’m looking forward to [young receivers] when we’re getting press coverage, when we’re moving around a little bit. So when installation starts to get heavier, not only Brandon, but all of our players, when they’re going up against our defense in pads, they’ve got to step up.”
On the Vikings offensive line in the wake of Tony Sparano’s passing
“This is my 12th year in the NFL. The one room that usually stays the same is the offensive line because they’re always really, really tight. They’re usually really smart guys with really good character. When you have those three qualities, when something tragic as this happens, they have a tendency of kind of banding together as brothers–and they call themselves brothers–and try to help each other get through such a tragic situation.
“Our whole staff have been pros since this happened. It’s a credit to [Mike Zimmer], number one, with the people that he hired. He hired not only great coaches but great character people. [Tight ends coach Clancy Barone] has done a great job of stepping up, as [senior offensive assistant Todd Downing] did with the tight ends…It’s carried down from Coach Zimmer’s leadership.”
On Dalvin Cook‘s status and progression
“He’s looking really, really good and we’re looking forward to getting the pads on and seeing where Dalvin’s at. We expect him to be full-go.
“You obviously see the explosiveness. We’re not giving him a ton of reps. He’s taking individual and he’s getting reps here and there. But he got in blitz period yesterday and he was assignment perfect. When you see a young player that understands protections the way he does at an early age, that’s really unique. Obviously, he has the pass catching ability and the running ability that we’ve all seen. But a lot of times when you play that position, I think pass protection sometimes gets overlooked.”
On Kirk Cousins as a leader in a new environment
“Kirk is a confident guy, but I can see his confidence in what we’re doing. And usually that confidence is gained by your knowledge and feeling comfortable in what you’re doing…I think he’s feeling more comfortable in what we’re doing. I think he’s feeling more comfortable in his environment that he’s working in, people he’s working with.
“I’ve said something for a long time, and this is something I truly believe…If there’s a quarterback competition, you don’t have one. So we don’t have that here. I think we exude that confidence in Kirk, he exudes that confidence in us and we’re really looking forward to him playing well this year and leading our football team. I think it’s a combination of a lot of those things I just mentioned on why Kirk feels [he is the leader] and we feel that way about him.”