Dane Mizutani / St. Paul Pioneer Press
EAGAN, Minn. — Undrafted running back Mike Boone sauntered off the field last week at TCO Performance Center with backfield mates Roc Thomas and Mack Brown by his side. The three players looked like lifelong friends, joking as they retreated to the Vikings' locker room following another long day of training camp. You never would have known that they're actually battling for the same spot on the active roster.
EAGAN, Minn. — Already ravaged by minor injuries, the Vikings' offensive line suffered a major blow Thursday morning, Aug. 9, when left guard Nick Easton had surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. While the injury is not expected to be career-threatening, coach Mike Zimmer confirmed that the Vikings will place Easton on injured reserve, effectively ending his season before it begins. "Nothing really happened," Zimmer said of how Easton got hurt. "He's got a bulging disc. I'm not going to talk about it."
EAGAN, Minn. — Even diehard Vikings fans would have trouble picking Cornelius Edison out of a lineup. A member of the Vikings' practice squad last season, the 25-year-old center has played in just six NFL games, all on special teams for the Chicago Bears in 2016. That said, when the Vikings' first-team offensive line trots onto the field for the preseason opener against the Broncos at 8 p.m. Saturday in Denver, Edison will be the guy snapping the ball to high-priced quarterback Kirk Cousins.
EAGAN, Minn. — Ifeadi Odenigbo still remembers the first time he told his parents he wanted to play football. As a kid growing up in Centerville, Ohio, Odenigbo gravitated to the sport from an early age and, in turn, tried to convince father Thomas and mother Linda to do the same. It was easier said than done. His parents grew up in Nigeria and weren't exactly familiar with American football. Plus, they placed, and added, emphasis on academics for their three sons: Somto, the eldest, Ifeadi, the middle, and Tito, the youngest.
MINNEAPOLIS—Oliver Drake barreled into the Twins clubhouse Saturday afternoon, Aug. 4, an iced coffee from Starbucks serving as his lifeblood amid a crazy 24 hours after being claimed off waivers. He handed his suitcase over to a Twins official and spent the next 15 minutes or so introducing himself to his new teammates, something he's become quite good at this season. "We landed around 2:30-ish," Drake said. "I just came straight here to the ballpark to get ready and meet everyone and get prepared for the game."
MINNEAPOLIS—There were times over the past 18 months that Twins pitcher Trevor May let doubt creep in. He was recovering from Tommy John surgery, and while he tirelessly attacked the rehab process, it wasn't always easy to stay positive. "It was really tough," May said. "There were a lot of late nights with no sleep. Some long conversations with my wife (Kate). There were some pretty dark days and some doubts about my future and whether I wanted to continue to choose this path or not. I'm glad to come out on the other side of it."
MINNEAPOLIS—Long before Johan Santana was a feared ace on the mound, a guy who defined the Twins' pitching staff in the mid-2000s, he was a wide-eyed 21-year-old patiently for his opportunity. He vividly remembers sitting in the Metrodome bullpen on April 3, 2000. It was Opening Day, and he had a front-row seat when Twins ace Brad Radke served up a home run to Tampa Bay Devil Rays center fielder Gerald Williams on the first pitch of the season.
EGAN — Like most NFL teams, the Vikings seek clarification about a new rule that will penalize tacklers for lowering their head and leading with their helmets. "There's going to be a lot of challenges with it," coach Mike Zimmer said last week. "It's going to take a little bit of preseason to clean up a little bit. It's going to be tough at first."
EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen might be the NFL's best bargain. After bursting on the scene two seasons ago, Thielen signed a three-year, $17 million contract last offseason that pays him an average of roughly $4.8 million a season, according to OverTheCap.com. He then caught a career-high 91 passes for career-high 1,276 yards while assuming the No. 1 role while partner Stefon Diggs battled a groin injury.
EAGAN, Minn. — Laquon Treadwell has spent the early portion of training camp turning heads, especially in the red zone, and doing so with a sense of joy rarely exhibited during his first two seasons. A first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, the 23-year-old Treadwell hasn't lived up to his billing, barely playing as a rookie and catching 20 passes for 200 yards last season. That lack of production has weighed on Treadwell, entering the third year of a rookie contract paying a guaranteed $9.6 million.