New faces bring fresh energy at Vikings OTAs

The media got its first real look at the new Vikings squad at OTA's Thursday as it was the first open media session of the new season.

All eyes were on new Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins. New offensive coordinator John DeFilippo says he’s been “impressed” on how the ball jumps off Cousins’ hand better than first expected. 

DeFilippo is a fresh face for the Vikings as well and so far the offense is enjoying the new spark he’s bringing to the squad.

“I like playing for him as far as like I bring up energy a lot and he’s one of those guys that gives you that positive energy and as a coach he gets me going,” said Stefon Diggs, wide receiver. “You know, he definitely keeps me focused out there, keeping you on your P’s and Q’s because he has a lot of things he likes to do.” 

“I can tell you with [Diggs], he’s got about as much energy as I have, which is a lot, so that’s a good thing,” said DeFilippo. “You got to feed off each other, we get each other going and that’s just the way I know how to operate on the field. I want guys to have fun out here and at the same time be competitive and learn and get better each day.”

“[DeFilippo's] offense is different, but it’s fun and he throws in new stuff in there every day,” said Kendall Wright, wide receiver. “He’s really excited when he’s putting it in, he’s sometimes I think more juiced up than us to go out there.”

Center Pat Elflein and defensive end Everson Griffen both sat out Wednesday, nursing injuries. While attendance isn’t mandatory for OTA’s, noticeably absent was Anthony Barr, who told Zimmer he would not be there.

“He came to me yesterday and said he wasn’t going to be here. That’s what it is,” said Zimmer.

After a reporter asked if Barr’s absence was due to his contract, Zimmer said he didn’t know.

“I don’t worry about those kind of things,” said Zimmer. “I just know the conversation we had and we’re going to keep it between myself and him.”

When it comes to contracts, longtime veteran Brian Robison took a pay cut to return to the squad this year. He was scheduled to make about $3 million this year, but with the new agreement in place, he will be making about $1 million instead.

“Just one of those deals, I had to make the best decision for me and my family and at the end of the day, I’ve said this day one that I wanted to bring a championship to the state of Minnesota,” said Robison. “To me if that’s something I’ve got to give back, $2 million to do, I’ll gladly do it.”

“He felt there was still some unfinished business and he wanted to be part of this and he felt good about the team, I think,” said Zimmer.