With the Wild already out of the playoffs and the Timberwolves one loss from being eliminated, it's a breath of fresh air in Minnesota to have the NFL Draft on Thursday night and players back at Vikings headquarters in Eagan preparing for the 2018 season.
On Tuesday, everyone from Kirk Cousins to Dalvin Cook, Everson Griffen, Kyle Rudolph and Rick Spielman met with the media, and this was the best of what they said.
1. 'It's an injury that can make you or break you'
Dalvin Cook is coming up on seven months since a torn ACL ended his rookie season, but he's expected to be fully cleared for practice by the time the Vikings report to training camp in July.
"The first few weeks, it's challenging. You question yourself: do I still want to do this?" said Cook. "It's a lot, it really is. It's an injury that can make you or break you. I chose the route it wasn't going to break me."
Cook will participate on a limited basis during organized team activities and minicamp.
2. 'There's definitely added motivation'
Tight end Kyle Rudolph is rehabbing offseason surgery on his foot, but he's as excited as ever to get the 2018 season going.
"There's definitely an added motivation to the way we ended the year last year being so close. But we haven't won a game yet. The first thing Coach Zim mentioned in our team meeting is you don't get to pick up at 13 wins. We don't automatically get a first-round bye like we did last year. We're starting 0-0 just like everybody else."
Rudolph said his foot will be 100 percent in the coming weeks.
3. 'Music to my ears'
There's been little discussion about Sheldon Richardson since he signed with the Vikings, but he's the guy Pro Bowl defensive end Everson Griffen is most excited about.
"Bringing Sheldon Richardson in is music to my ears. I love seeing that because the fastest way to the quarterback is up the middle. If he's getting pressure up the middle, that means we can use more speed," Griffen said. "He's dominant. He's gotta learn how to pass rush a little bit, that's why he's here. But we've bot the best D-line coach in the NFL, Andre Patterson.
Richardson was considered one of the best free agent defensive tackles to hit the open market during the offseason.
4. Thielen, Diggs have 'lived up to the hype'
The top two wide receivers on the team, Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, have already made a big impression on quarterback Kirk Cousins.
"Just got a smile on my face from ear to ear," Cousins said when asked about his receivers. "Adam and Stef are the two that everyone knows about, and thus far with the little bit of work we've done, they've lived up to the hype. I've been fortunate enough to play with some great receivers, and it looks like they're right there with any of them."
Cousins has surpassed 4,000 passing yards in three consecutive seasons, all with the Washington Redskins.
5. 'Everybody thinks that we're locked in at offensive line'
General Manager Rick Spielman has read the mock drafts and knows that the entire world is predicting he'll take an offensive lineman with the 30th overall pick in Thursday's NFL Draft, but he's ready to pull the trigger on any number of possibilities.
"Everybody thinks that we're locked in at offensive line, that's absolutely not the case," he said. "Right now, the way our draft board is developed, we have five different positions that we can go in any direction depending on how the board is falling Thursday night."