EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. - The Minnesota Vikings mini-camp is in the books, but just because the team has a little more than a month off before training camp doesn't mean football won't be top of mind.
"We all have to have that mindset that football is right around the corner," said Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder said.
The Vikings overachieved by all accounts in 2012. The result of that 10-win season likely means pressure is on to improve despite a young roster with holes to fill following the departure of players like Antoine Winfield and Percy Harvin.
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier knows his roster and appears to have expectations of his own for 2013.
"We have some young guys we are going to have to count on next season to play for us and play well," Frazier said. "So we've tried to, in this offseason program, put a lot on their plate and see how they'll respond."
Young guys like Josh Robinson and Harrison Smith will be asked to step up their games. Wide receivers including rookie Cordarrelle Patterson and Green Bay transplant Greg Jennings will be looked at to help with the maturation of Ponder.
"Hopefully, we laid a good foundation for a good football season," Frazier said. "I think we've got that accomplished."
The time off is also important for players like Ponder and running back Adrian Peterson who devote much of their offseason to football and working out.
"I will be doing a little bit of traveling," said Ponder. "I'll be based out of (Minnesota). Me and my wife will get some much-deserved time to spend on vacation."
"I'm heading back home to be around family and friends I grew up with," Peterson said. "We're going to have some good barbecue. I have a guy coming over from Dallas who I think is the best. So, we'll celebrate that way, kind of relax and have a good time."
But don't think for a minute they won't be ready for training camp or that first preseason game.