Vikings coach Mike Zimmer will think twice about having joint practices with other teams this season, but not for the most obvious reason — concern that infected players from other teams could infect his own players. Zimmer wants to be sure that he has enough time to get his team ready in a year without offseason workouts, and he’s concerned that joint practices could affect that.
“I’ve thought about it a little bit,” Zimmer said Wednesday, via Courtney Cronin of ESPN.com. “The problem I foresee with having the joint practices is you may not be able to get your guys up to speed fast enough for what they have to do as opposed to worrying about another player. If it gets down to it, I can see there might be depending on how much time we have during training camp and before the games.”
It all depends on how much time teams ultimately have to practice in a vance of the playing of games.
“I can possibly see having a one-day practice against a team,” Zimmer said. “I don’t know if I’d want to spend two or three days when we’re trying to get our football team ready to play.”
Although the Vikings have plenty of veterans, they also have an influx of draft picks and other young players who will be expected to replace key members of the team who have left, like receiver Stefon Diggs, defensive end Everson Griffen, safety Andrew Sendejo, and a rash of cornerbacks.
“I’ll be more concerned about working with technique of each and every player when they get here,” Zimmer said. “That might take three weeks, who knows. Each player is a little bit different. That will be the biggest factor. You can’t just roll out the ball and play. You can’t just say, ‘Here’s your playbook, now you go out there.’ It doesn’t work like that. They know what to do but they don’t know how to do it.”
The teams that thrive in these uncertain times will find a way to show their players how to do it. Teams with the greatest amount of continuity in the starting lineup will have a clear edge.
Whatever the Vikings do, they now know that it all gets started four months from today, when the Packers come to town for a game that could have a huge impact on the crowning of a division champion nearly four months later.