Receiver Jordan Addison watched Vikings players run through plays Tuesday during the team's second organized team activity, marking the start of 11-on-11 practices without pads or tackling.
Addison, held out for an undisclosed reason, was among a handful of noteworthy players not participating during a voluntary portion of the offseason. Running back Dalvin Cook, edge rusher Danielle Hunter and receiver Justin Jefferson weren't spotted on the field for the first session open to reporters. Addison, the 23rd overall pick out of USC, declined an interview request.
Cook remains away from the team that has explored trading him this spring. General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has said they're seeking a solution for both sides as the team needs financial relief and Cook is scheduled to pocket $11 million this year — more than all but two running backs: San Francisco's Christian McCaffery and Atlanta's Bijan Robinson.
Running back Alexander Mattison led the first-team offense after signing a two-year extension in March.
"We've been in the backfield together for four years," Mattison said. "Of course we're used to that. But it's part of the process. Some guys still aren't here, and those guys will be joining us soon."
Hunter and the Vikings have not agreed on a long-term deal since attempts were made last year. Hunter is due a below-market $5.5 million this year — a salary previously lowered by a 2021 restructure that moved up money in the deal.
Jefferson trained with receiver K.J. Osborn this offseason in Miami, where Osborn said Jefferson remains before reporting to TCO Performance Center. The first mandatory Vikings practice is June 13.
"I talked to him [Tuesday] morning," Osborn said. "He's excited. He'll be back. He's down there working. ... We were able to train a lot together and pick each other's brains."
Hockenson: 'This is a place I want to be'
Tight end T.J. Hockenson said Tuesday he wants to stay long-term in Minnesota, where he's "really enjoying the city of Minneapolis" and his run with the Vikings so far. But the former top Lions pick, who had 60 grabs for 519 yards and three scores as a midseason acquisition from Detroit, enters the last year of a contract that pays him a $9.3 million salary in 2023.
"That's not really anything I'm focused on," Hockenson said of his contract. "I'm just playing football, having fun with the guys and really enjoying the city of Minneapolis, trying to get around these fans. This is a place I obviously want to be, and just everything needs to work out. I hope to be here for a long time, but on the same hand it is a business and there's a side of that. Again, I don't look at that, but it's great to be here right now."
Kick returns alive in Minnesota?
The NFL voted to further limit the kickoff return in the name of player safety on Tuesday, when the league's spring meetings concluded on the Vikings' Eagan campus. The new rule allows returners to call for a fair catch and bring their offense to the 25-yard line, like a touchback, if a team kicks shallow to force a return.
On the other end of the Vikings' headquarters, one of the NFL's best kick returners walked off the practice field and said not much should change for him.
"We like to be aggressive on those special teams phases," said running back Kene Nwangwu, who leads the NFL with three kickoffs returned for touchdowns since 2021. "I know it'd hurt our kickoff team trying to get people that maybe don't spend as much time on the kickoff return phase. But for us, it doesn't change our mindset."
- The preseason schedule finalized Tuesday sends the Vikings to Seattle for a 9 p.m. kickoff on Thursday, Aug. 10. Minnesota wraps the exhibition slate with home games against the Titans (7 p.m. on Aug. 19) and the Cardinals (noon on Aug. 26).
- The Vikings signed receiver Lucky Jackson, who played for the XFL's D.C. Defenders this spring, and waived edge rusher Kenny Willekes.