Home Gym – Vikings begin virtual work Monday but questions surround spring drills – Twin Cities
Players on both the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks issued statements Tuesday through the NFL Players Association saying they will not report to their teams this spring for in-person voluntary offseason drills due to coronavirus concerns. So might other teams follow suit?
Vikings defensive end Stephen Weatherly believes so. Weatherly was a Vikings union representative before he left the team as a free agent in March 2020 and spent a year with Carolina. He is back with Minnesota after re-signing last month.
“I think other teams will follow suit once they get to a point where they’re talking to coaches and have a better footing and then they can make a decision because I think it’s going to be very unique to each team,” Weatherly said from his home in Charlotte, N.C.
Weatherly said the Vikings have not yet discussed the issue as a team. He said the plan now is for players to begin virtual drills Monday and then perhaps move on to in-person work later in the spring at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan. Monday is the soonest teams can begin offseason programs, but no formal agreement has been reached between the union and the league on how they will be conducted.
“It will be virtual at least for the first couple weeks that I know of, and then from there I think there’s going to be a slow integration to in-person, once again trying to keep everyone distanced and trying to rotate as much possible, Weatherly said of what he has heard from the Vikings.
“But there’s a problem in the sense that there’s only so much isolation, separation you can do between workout groups before eventually people need to do football, which means lining up somewhat, and that’s the contact we’re trying to avoid as a group. … There’s no reason of increasing your chances of potential exposure when you don’t have to.”
NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith and president JC Tretter sent a memo to all players Tuesday reiterating that the union wants teams to conduct only virtual work this spring due to the pandemic. NFL teams conducted only did virtual work last spring. Normally, teams have about two months of workouts in the spring, including organized team activities, a rookie minicamp and a mandatory full-squad minicamp.
Weatherly previously was the Vikings’ second alternate player rep. The Vikings’ current player rep is linebacker Eric Kendricks, who did not return a message seeking comment. The first alternate has been center Brett Jones, an unsigned free agent, the second alternate guard Dakota Dozier and third alternate tackle Brian O’Neill.
According to OvertheCap.com, Vikings players Kendricks, Danielle Hunter, Harrison Smith, Anthony Barr, Dalvin Tomlinson, Adam Thielen, Dalvin Cook and C.J. Ham all have 2021 workout bonuses worth $100,000, Nick Vigil has one for $50,000 and Mason Cole one for $31,250. Earning such a bonus in the past required a player to report to the team facility in the spring, but all such bonuses were paid last year.
If the Vikings do have in-person voluntary workouts this spring, Weatherly said he will make a determination at a later time on whether he will attend.
“I’ll have to look at the new protocols that are going to be in place before making a decision whether or not I feel comfortable coming all the way back,” he said.
Legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant, who turns 94 on May 20, said he received his second vaccine dose about a month ago and is feeling fine. He continues to spend much of his time at his cabin in northern Wisconsin. “Most of the family has gotten their shots and they’re free to come,” he said. … The one-year contract former Vikings defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson signed as a free agent last week with Houston is worth $1.3 million and could be worth as much as $1.55 million with incentives. He got $400,000 guaranteed, including a $100,000 signing bonus.
Home Gym – Vikings begin virtual work Monday but questions surround spring drills – Twin Cities]
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