Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EGAN, Minn. — After watching Friday's official opening of the grandiose TCO Performance Center, legendary Vikings coach Bud Grant had one immediate thought. "I was born 50 years too soon," said Grant, 91, who coached Minnesota from 1967-83 and in 1985. The Vikings have been at their new facility in Eagan since late February, and players reported April 16 for spring drills. On Friday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony was held with special guests that included NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who addressed the gathering.
EAGAN, Minn.—In April, two Vikings players were suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances. They then had to explain their actions to Mike Zimmer. "It's intimidating to go up to the head coach and talk to him like that,'' linebacker Kentrell Brothers said Wednesday on the second day of a three-day minicamp. Brothers learned of his suspension April 20, and wide receiver Cayleb Jones got the news 10 days later.
EAGAN, Minn. — Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been smiling plenty since he signed a three-year, $84 million contract with the Vikings in March. But he wasn't grinning when he came off the practice field Wednesday, June 13. During third-down, red-zone drills late on the second day of a three-day minicamp, Cousins threw two interceptions in three plays.
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen has been hearing compliments everywhere he turns these days. Thielen is coming off a season in which he was selected to his first Pro Bowl. Earlier this month, he was named No. 36 on the NFL Network's annual top-100 list in voting by players.
EAGAN, Minn. — When the Vikings approached running back Latavius Murray about a pay cut this year, it wasn't a hard sell. Never mind that Murray could be returning to a reserve role behind Dalvin Cook, who was lost for the season in Week 4 last October with a torn left ACL. Murray said Tuesday, June 12, he never gave serious consideration to turning down the Vikings' March request to cut his salary from $5.15 million to $3.65 million. Not after the Vikings won 14 games and came within a victory of returning to the Super Bowl for the first time since 1977.
EAGAN, Minn.—NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will be back in the Twin Cities for another Vikings grand opening. Goodell will attend an official ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday, June 15, in Eagan at the TCO Performance Center, the Vikings' latest spanking new facility. Goodell was on hand in September 2016 for the first regular-season game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
MINNEAPOLIS—The Minnesota Vikings have plenty of high-priced players and are poised to add to the list. General manager Rick Spielman at least can joke about it. "Fifty percent of the proceeds today will go to the contracts of Anthony Barr, Stefon Diggs and Danielle Hunter," Spielman recently told participants at the Vikings' charity golf outing.
MINNEAPOLIS—In addition to third-string quarterback, Kyle Sloter is deserving of another title on the Vikings: director of quarterback alumni relations. Since Case Keenum, Sam Bradford and Teddy Bridgewater all left as free agents in March, Sloter has made a point of keeping in touch with them. "We talk on the phone and I text them,'' Sloter said Wednesday during the Vikings' charity golf tournament at The Meadows at Mystic Lake in Prior Lake.
MINNEAPOLIS—Vikings undrafted rookie defensive end Hercules Mata'afa suffered a torn ACL on Wednesday when he was injured without contact on a kickoff in a practice during organized team activities. He will be placed on injured reserve and miss the entire season. Mata'afa's agent, Kenny Zuckerman, said Mata'afa was very distraught after suffering the injury, but that he felt better later in the day. He took to Instagram and wrote that he will "make the Skol nation proud in the near future!''
EAGAN, Minn. — Before the Vikings open the 2018 season on Sept. 9 against San Francisco, Brian Robison might announce that this will be his final year in the NFL. The defensive end contemplated his future earlier this spring before agreeing to take a pay cut and return for a 12th season. He said Tuesday, June 5, he is leaning toward retirement after the season and isn't planning to drag out the decision process.