Chris Tomasson / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn.—Minnesota Vikings safety Andrew Sendejo made it clear during a walkthrough Friday morning where he stands on the NFL's controversial new helmet rule. On a hat Sendejo was wearing backward, the message was "Make Football Violent Again.'' Sendejo is known as a hard hitter. He was suspended for a game last season for using his helmet on a hit on Baltimore wide receiver Mike Wallace. "I got it from a buddy. He used to play here," said Sendejo, not naming the player. "So, I just wear it. It fits good and it's black. I like it. It's got a good message."
EGAN, Minn. — Some players talk about coming into a new season having gained strength or endurance. For Vikings safety Harrison Smith, something else was very important. "Not necessarily anything weight wise, but just staying bouncy,'' Smith said. "I did a lot of plyometrics and stuff and it seems to get me going. It kind of ignites me. Get explosive and ready to go.''
EGAN, Minn. — Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr wasn't penalized last October when his hit on Aaron Rodgers broke the Green Bay quarterback's collarbone. In 2018, that type of play will be looked at differently. If it were this season, NFL referee Pete Morelli said it would result in a penalty because of a new rule interpretation that provides additional protection to "defenseless players."
MINNEAPOLIS — In the first four games of his NFL career, Vikings receiver Randy Moss was off to a solid start, but he wasn't exactly being dubbed a future hall of famer. Then came Oct. 5, 1998, a Monday Night Football game at Green Bay, Moss' first nationally televised game.
EAGAN, Minn. -- Stefon Diggs has become the latest NFL receiver to cash in big. A source said the Vikings’ stalwart agreed Tuesday, July 31, to a five-year, $72 million contract extension. The deal could be worth as much as $81 million with incentives and he gets $40 million guaranteed.
EAGAN, Minn. — Fans and media have set preseason expectations for a Super Bowl as high as they ever have been since the Wilf family took over the franchise in 2005. Is Vikings president Mark Wilf on the bandwagon, too? "I think it's great," Wilf said Monday, July 30, during training camp at TCO Performance Center. "We want high expectations. I think we have a high bar for ourselves."
EAGAN, Minn. — Nearly every meal for Brian O'Neill lately has been of the all-you-can-eat variety. O'Neill was listed at 297 pounds when the Vikings picked him out of the University of Pittsburgh in the second round of the NFL draft in April. That's actually light for an NFL tackle, especially one standing 6-foot-7. He's been trying to do something about that.
WAYZATA, Minn. — The Vikings took Friday off from practice to honor Tony Sparano. Four buses carried players, coaches and staff members from training camp at the TCO Performance Center in Eagan to The Church of St. Bartholomew in Wayzata for what attendees said was an emotional funeral service. Sparano, the Vikings' offensive line coach the past two seasons, died last Sunday from heart disease. He was 56. About 250 people attended, the bulk of them from the Vikings, including owner Zygi Wilf, general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer.
EAGAN, Minn. — The death of Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano hit offensive coordinator John DeFilippo hard. DeFilippo and Sparano got to know each other well in the 2013 and 2014 seasons, when DeFilippo was Oakland's quarterbacks coach and Sparano coached the line before becoming interim head coach. The two were reunited in Minnesota last February, but Sparano died suddenly last Sunday at age 56. The official cause was heart disease.
EAGAN, Minn. — When quarterback Kirk Cousins showed up for spring drills in April, fresh off signing a three-year, $84 million contract, he figured it would take some time prove to himself to his new Vikings teammates. That's not exactly how it went. "I was surprised by how much my teammates gave me that license to lead quickly," Cousins said Thursday, July 26, at training camp. "I thought they were going to want to have me prove myself a little bit longer than maybe I had to. They were very supportive and said, 'No, man. It's your show. Let's go.'"