FOXBOROUGH -- The Patriots officially begin their offseason workout program on Monday, but Logan Mankins and several players won’t notice much of a difference.
That’s because Mankins and a significant group of players have already been working out for weeks on their own at Gillette. The only difference starting Monday is that the conditioning coaches can run the workouts, and the players will mix in more cardio with their weightlifting.
“I like to train here. You kind of get the juices going again,” Mankins, entering his 10th NFL season, said Thursday morning after a workout. “Right now is just the grunt work. … Just the big boys throwing around weight.”
Many defensive players are training together, like Rob Ninkovich and Jerod Mayo, while Mankins said a solid group of offensive linemen has been working out several days a week, including guard Dan Connolly, center Ryan Wendell, youngsters Jordan Devey and Chris Barker and right tackle Sebastian Vollmer, who is coming back from a broken leg suffered in Week 9.
“He looks good right now, too,” Mankins said of Vollmer. “I don’t know his whole update right now, but he looks good and I know he’s working hard.”
Mankins and Connolly, teammates since 2007, have been working out together this offseason for the first time in several years.
“In years past, I had surgeries, he had surgeries, we had the whole lockout thing,” Mankins said. “We meet every morning at a certain time, go after it for a few hours and then go home. We’ve just been pushing each other, and it’s been working out well.”
Mankins, speaking for the first time since the season ended in late January, gave the perfect Patriots answer when asked about the Patriots’ free agent signings of Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, Julian Edelman and Brandon LaFell, which have generated a lot of excitement across New England.
“You always hope you can add players who will help your team,” Mankins deadpanned. “I don’t know if they’re going to help our team yet. It’s only April. We don’t even have a final roster yet. So we’ll find out in September if we’re any better.”
Mankins also shrugged off some of the recent anti-Patriots comments from former teammates Aqib Talib and Brandon Spikes, who signed with the Broncos and Bills, respectively, this offseason. Talib accused the Patriots of falsifying his injury information, while Spikes said on Twitter that he plans to beat the Patriots twice this season, and that his tenure with the Patriots felt like “4 years a slave.”
“I’ve only heard guys joking around about what he said,” Mankins said. “I don’t know if he was joking or being serious, but that’s just Spikes being Spikes.”
“Everyone likes to think they know it all. It doesn’t really bother me too much. I know what we have here. I know our owner, I know our head coach. Those guys they care about the team, they care about winning football games. Whatever anyone says, it kind of rolls off our backs.”Follow Ben Volin on Twitter at @benvolin.