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Zimmer ends drills for hard work

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer hasn't built his reputation as a no-nonsense guy by canceling practices. That's why some of his players couldn't believe what happened Thursday.As a reward for the hard work put in during spring ...

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer hasn’t built his reputation as a no-nonsense guy by canceling practices. That’s why some of his players couldn’t believe what happened Thursday.
As a reward for the hard work put in during spring drills, Zimmer canceled the final day of a three-day minicamp. The players had the morning off before returning for a barbecue lunch with former Vikings players.
“I just like the way this team works,” Zimmer said. “I told them that I appreciate the way they go about their business. … They didn’t believe me at first. A bunch of them said, ‘Did he say go practice or no practice?’ So, they just sat up there for a little while. They weren’t sure. They thought it was a joke or a trick, but I felt like I’ve seen what I needed to see (this spring).”
Cornerback Captain Munnerlyn said he thought it was a joke. Defensive end Everson Griffen didn’t waste any time celebrating his new-found free time.
“I got up and started yelling and screaming,” Griffen said. “It was awesome. We’ve been working hard. We’ve been getting the job done, and I feel like (Zimmer has) seen what we’ve been doing and the way we’ve been playing.”
While veterans were free to leave Thursday, rookies will remain in Minnesota until next week for the NFL’s rookie transition program, which will be held at Winter Park. There are no practices scheduled until players report to training camp in Mankato on July 28.
Zimmer said he would not have canceled the final workout had the Vikings been “crummy” in spring drills. He was generally pleased with what he saw this week.
“We had too many penalties in practice, too many pre-snap penalties, things like that,” he said. “But I think (most) was good. I think the competition between the offense and the defense was good. I think we got a lot of work done with the special teams, and I think we’re ready to go to Mankato.”
Zimmer expressed confidence that players who missed practice time with injuries should be ready by training camp. That includes linebacker Anthony Barr, defensive tackles Linval Joseph and Sharrif Floyd, guards Alex Boone and Mike Harris, and tight end Rhett Ellison.
Players have been given individual workout plans for what they need to do over the next six weeks. Zimmer said some players have met with him and all have met with their position coaches to discuss what they need to do to improve.
“I’m going to grind until I can’t grind no more to get my body in tip-top shape to win the championship,” Griffen vowed.
Zimmer has said he wouldn’t pay a lot of attention to starting jobs until training camp. Camp will feature battles for starting spots on the offensive line, at wide receiver, at strong safety between Andrew Sendejo and Michael Griffin, and at weak-side linebacker between Chad Greenway and Emmanuel Lamur.
T.J. Clemmings started all 16 games as a rookie at right tackle last season before being moved during the offseason to the left side. Although Clemmings doesn’t seem to be in the mix to start again, he could end up being Minnesota’s swing tackle. Zimmer said he also will get some work on the right side in training camp.
As for Zimmer, he said there is plenty of work to be done before training camp. Still, he plans to spend some time at his ranch in Kentucky, take a short vacation with his family and drink “a little red wine once in a while.”

Related Topics: MINNESOTA VIKINGS
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