New Beginnings

New Beginnings

What can I say about signing with the Minnesota Vikings? Opportunities like this are the kind of thing players dream about having. You want to join a great team. You want to be a part of a fantastic organization. You want to be in a position where you feel like you can help your team win a lot of games.

 

I absolutely feel like I am in such a position with the Vikings.

 

I am humbled and honored to be a part of such a great organization. I’m thrilled to join a team with the talent the Vikings have and eager to add to the franchise’s history.  I am, of course, thankful to so many people for all that they did for me; for all the help they gave me on this incredible journey. I’m not going to bother trying to list everyone because I’ll leave someone out and I don’t want to do that. However, I do need to say thanks to and acknowledge the Vikings front office and the owners, the Wilf Family. The decision makers did what they needed to do to make this deal happen, and I am grateful to them for doing everything they did.

 

I’m not just thanking the Wilf Family because they pay my salary, but because they were willing to do and did what every football player wants to see from the organization they play for. By approving and agreeing to my contract, they showed me that they believe in me and that they were willing to make a commitment to me.

 

Yes, the contract is for three years, but the idea is not to be here for three years and see what happens. The idea is to be here for good; for the rest of my career.

 

There willingness to make that commitment to me and the commitment they’ve shown to winning is one of the things that drew me to Minnesota. You don’t build a stadium like they did unless you’re committed to putting the best team possible on that field. You don’t build a roster like the Vikings have unless you are committed to winning.

 

When the leadership is strong enough to make the decisions as they have—well, you want to play for that kind of leadership. I am certainly going to do everything in my power to make sure that they do not regret making that commitment to me.

 

I am excited to get to work. I’m here to play football.

The Journey to Minnesota

 

I’ve been asked a lot about how I came to decide on Minnesota? What got me here? How did I get here? To fully go into detail about the journey and the reasons why would take forever.

But, in a nutshell, I can say the commitment to winning was important. Every team likes to talk about the feeling of family within the organization and how great the locker room is. I can say that the talk is absolutely true here.

 

As for the how, well— I trust my agent implicitly and let him do what he does. He gave me some wise counsel over the last couple of years, and while it was not ideal to be going year to year, doing so brought me to where I am now. I know he is always going to represent my family and me well.

 

I was lucky and happened to be in Minneapolis for the Super Bowl when I heard about Washington trading for Alex Smith. So, I went ahead and did my homework on the Vikings and the Minneapolis area—and liked what I saw. The boxes you need to check when making this kind of decision were easy to check.

 

The free agency process itself went pretty fast. It was a good thing I had done my homework already because I would not have been able to, had I waited.

 

There has already been a lot of Super Bowl talk. I’ve heard people say that I am the missing piece to the Super Bowl puzzle for the Vikings. They ask me if that puts any additional pressure on me.

 

Honestly, I can’t say that I’m the missing piece because I’m not going to win the Super Bowl today. First things first—it’s time to get to know my teammates, time to build some relationships, and time to get to work. I can’t win a Super Bowl today, so I can’t answer that question.

Winning is what matters. I came here to win. My focus is on getting to work so I can help the team do just that.

 

There is a lot of work to be done of course. But there are a lot of the right pieces in place here already. We have a lot of great players on both sides of the ball. I am excited about the potential that we have here.

The Contract

 

My contract has gotten a lot of attention, and it is not hard to understand why. People ask me how I feel about getting a fully guaranteed deal all the time. They want to know if I feel like a trailblazer or if I think this will be the new norm for NFL players.

 

I don’t know. That will be up to the guys that come after me. If that’s what they choose to pursue, and it works out for them—great. If history wants to look at me after the fact as a trailblazer, that’s fine.

 

I will say that I appreciate that it is guaranteed. Like I mentioned earlier, it tells me that the Wilf Family believes me and is willing to make a commitment to me by approving it. Knowing that I have their confidence means a lot.

 

As for the whole highest paid player thing— I will not hold the title for long. There are a few big names that will take the lead in the near future.

The Team

 

Of course, I’m excited about the talent on this team. I can’t wait to go up against the No. 1 defense in the NFL in practice every day. I don’t know Trevor Siemian personally. But I know of him. He has an excellent reputation, and I look forward to having another guy with experience in the QB room.

 

As for the rest of the guys, there is a lot of talent on both sides of the ball. Who didn’t see that catch Stefon Diggs made? Incredible. I look forward to getting him the ball and spreading it around to everyone else, including the running backs.

 

Working with John DeFilippo is going to be a pleasure. Here’s a guy that had someone in a position to be the MVP until he got hurt. Then he took his replacement and turned him into a Super Bowl MVP. That tells me all I need to know about him.

 

If Mike Zimmer believes in him enough to hire him, that’s good enough for me.

Moving Forward

 

I appreciate my time in Washington and wish we could have won more games there. As for why we didn’t, the line between winning and losing in the NFL is so thin. Could we have won more if certain guys didn’t get hurt? Maybe. But that’s a question that can never really be answered.

 

What I can say is that I am thrilled to be in Minnesota. I am thrilled about where I live and where I work. I look forward to leading this team as best I can, playing great football, and winning games.

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