Four longtime NFL officials met with reporters during the day Monday and with Vikings players and coaches later that night to discuss the league’s new rules and points of emphasis for this season.

The one new rule that’s generating the most interest among the Vikings and their fans is the 15-yard penalty for players who lower their head and use the crown of their helmet to strike another player. In the instructional video shown to reporters and the team blows by Vikings running back Adrian Peterson and Browns running back Trent Richardson are used as two examples of plays that will now be flagged.

If you’re expecting flags to come raining down now there’s a rule in place don’t. At least that’s the word from the four officials who visited Vikings camp.

“There weren’t many of these kinds of hits [last year]” said Laird Hayes a side judge. “So [the league] doesn’t expect a rash of these calls particularly now that it’s a rule. I just think it’s one of those incidents that they’re adding to so that they can protect these guys as much as they can.”

For a flag to be thrown the hit has to come outside the tackle box and occur 3 or more yards downfield. The player delivering the blow also has to purposely line up his target lower his head and strike with the top of his helmet.

“If it’s close no we’re not going to call it” said Tony Veteri a head linesman. “It will be one of the few safety rules that when we have a doubt we’re not going to throw [the flag].”

More for Patterson?

Rookie first-round draft pick Cordarrelle Patterson already has the kickoff return job locked down. But the Vikings also are considering adding him to the mix at punt returner in Friday night’s preseason opener at the Metrodome.