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Football is (kind of) back: Vikings start offseason program Monday

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Mike Zimmer will get a chance to look at his roster a little earlier than most of his colleagues.

Teams with a new head coach get to start offseason player programs two weeks ahead of normal – and that means Vikings players will be reporting to Winter Park Monday, the team announced.

It's a nine-week program that will end with a mandatory mini camp in mid-June, and there are strict guidelines for what activities can – and can't – be done during specific time periods.

Phase one begins Monday – for two weeks it's all strength and conditioning training and rehab, no position coaches or ball drills allowed. The only exception is quarterbacks throwing to wide receivers.

Phase two is three weeks long, and allows all coaches to be involved. No contact or helmets allowed, and only positional drills (so no offense versus defense). The final four weeks involve 10 sets of organized team activities (OTAs), with team drills and helmets allowed, but no live contact. One mandatory mini camp can take place in one of the final two weeks.

The Vikes, ESPN's Ben Goessling notes, are one of seven teams with a new head coach. The Browns, Buccaneers, Lions, Redskins, Texans and Titans will all begin Monday as well.

So we're still a long way away from real football.

But hey, the NFL Draft is only a month away now, which means speculation is rampant. The latest buzz?

The quarterback-needy Vikings may not target a thrower in the first round, and are instead eying LSU's Zach Mettenberger in the second round. The No. 8 overall pick would go toward a linebacker, that report says. That report came one day after Zimmer spoke about the polarizing Johnny Football. Zimmer told a Texas radio station that “flags” were raised during their interview with Manziel around his pro day.

If you're a mock draft fan, check out the Daily Norseman's newest mock draft database. The site compiles dozens of mock drafts from around the internet and puts the Vikings' picks into one easy table.

And in local, non-Vikings draft news, former Cretin-Derham Hall offensive tackle Seantrel Henderson’s path to the NFL Draft hit a bump in the road Thursday when he unexpectedly walked out of his pro day workout.

What will happen? We'll find out in a month.

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