Coming to Minnesota was a big decision, and I’ve been asked a few times if I regret doing so but what I’ve experienced so far has just reaffirmed my decision. After meeting everyone within the organization, and working out with the team for a couple of months now I can say without a doubt that I made the right choice.
I can’t emphasize enough how impressed I am with the organization, the coaches, and with my teammates. There just aren’t a lot of big egos. These guys want to come in and work. They want to win, and they’ll do what it takes.
The facilities here are world class, the fan base is passionate and the city is beautiful. It’s just a great fit for me and my family.
Now we just have to go and win some football games...
I’m not one for looking ahead on anything; I’m more of a day by day guy. But I’m really excited to work with our offense this season.
Coach Flip has a strong background in the West Coast offense as do I. Of course, since the West Coast has evolved so much it is hard to know what it is and what it isn’t. With that mutual experience, there’s going to be some carryover from that.
The play-action game has been a strong point of mine, so there is likely going to be some carryover with it as well.
Coach Flip and I have had some similar experiences and have been exposed to some of the same things. When it comes down to it, I think there will be a melding of influences and backgrounds that will turn into the 2018 Vikings offense.
Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs
For quarterbacks in today’s NFL, you can only be as good as your wide receivers. I am fortunate to be working with two of the best in the league in Adam and Stefon. Before I signed, I appreciated what they brought to the table and admired their skill. I have a greater appreciation for them now. Having not been a first round guy like them, we certainly are kindred spirits in that we were underrated.
Now that I’ve had the privilege to work with them on the field and have seen their ability up close, I have been able to see how truly good they are. They both have strong, natural hands, a good football IQ, they run routes well, have great straight-line speed, and they are good at creating separation.
But most importantly, they come out to work every day. They are not looking to take days off; they are not looking to take reps off. They don’t shrug their soldiers when you ask them if they had a good practice.
We are going to ask so much of our receivers. We are going to ask them to have a lot of different movement skills and be a lot of different things. The fact that Stefon and Adam can do it all and at a high level gives you a lot of flexibility and versatility.
Both of them come out every day, and it matters to them. It’s not a hobby; it’s a job, and they treat it as such. As a leader and a quarterback, that’s really fun to work with-- and it makes my job easier.
I’ve been asked how I’m going to keep playing with a chip on my soldier. Honestly, I don’t think it goes away.
During my free agent visit, Coach Zimmer told me that as much as I’ve been overlooked through the years— I’m not anymore. But I do still have a chip on my shoulder. I’ll never lose that perspective because even now, I want to prove myself. I want to prove that I’m worth it; that it was a good decision to bring me here.
The last thing I want to do is cause the organization or the fan base to feel like I was a poor investment. So, yeah-- I’m still in a prove it mode and probably always will be.
I don’t know any other way.
This year will be my first Father’s Day as a father. You know becoming a parent is going to change you before you actually become one but you just don’t know how until it happens.
Your perspective on life is a little different. It’s a lot of little things. I’m always looking at the clock and making sure I can get home from work before he goes to bed. To make that happen, I have to be a little more efficient with my time.
I’m still learning what it looks like to be a great Dad. It helps that my wife is doing a really great job and she knows what she’s doing. I definitely play off of her; I’m the second in command when I go home.
Of course, it helps that I had such a great example in my dad and mom on how to be a parent.
It’s convenient to have a dad that showed you how it’s supposed to look each and every day. I don’t need to read all the parenting books out there I can just say, “what did my dad do?” and follow in his footsteps because he did it so well. I’m fortunate in that regard.
Giving back has always been important to me. When I was with the Redskins, I was a big supporter of the International Justice Mission and the great work they do all around the world. My wife and I plan on continuing to support them as they continue their work and want to make sure they have the resources they need.
But here in Minneapolis, we are kind of in a searching role right now looking for organizations in the Twin Cities that serve a similar role to IJM. Organizations that are making a real difference, need the funding and could use the marketing and the platform.
We want to provide that. As of right now, we are gathering information and finding one or two places that could be great partners for us.
I have a great deal of respect for University of Minnesota Golden Gophers coach P.J. Fleck, the way he leads; his approach to culture building and team building.
People ask me what connection I have with him since I’ve never played for him. We’ve crossed paths in some different ways. He was from Western Michigan where he had a lot of success before coming to Minnesota. I’m from Western Michigan-- so there is a little bit of a connection there.
I just think he’s a guy that is going to have success; he knows what he’s doing. He’s innovative and to have him right here in my backyard in Minneapolis. I think I’d be foolish not to connect with him.
I look forward to getting out there more in the future and trying to glean stuff from him; pick his brain and learn about what he’s teaching those guys at U of M.