Respectful competition as Vikings fight to make final roster
EAGAN, Minn. (KMSP) - The Vikings close out their preseason schedule Thursday night in Nashville, but there are many players still fighting down to the wire to prove they belong on the Minnesota roster.
“I want these young guys to have the opportunity to come out and make the club, come out and perform,” said Head Coach Mike Zimmer. “So there’s a lot of guys with jobs on the line and we expect them to go out and play well.”
One such player is running back Roc Thomas. He didn't see any action during the Seahawks game and looks forward to proving his wares these last few days.
“It's been a lotta help coming from that running back room – the veteran guys, they’ve helped me and Mike [Boone] tremendously, so we’re keeping our poise and it’s just been a lot of help coming from that room and you know it’s been good vibes only,” said Thomas.
Thomas says while it's been a competition between him and Boone, both all want good things for each other too.
“That’s one of the things most people don’t realize is we’re competing also, then again we’re in the same room acting like brothers,” said Thomas. “Mike’s my roommate, you know, we treat each other like brothers. We treat each other respectfully and that’s just one of the things that sets us apart from these other running back groups.”
Fierce, respectful competition is a story on defense too. George Iloka is still trying to get his footing on defense, even though it is quite similar to Cincinnati, but he's been most impressed with his Vikings teammates.
“Immediately, the guys embraced me,” said Iloka. “It’s a good locker room, lot of good men in that locker room, people – I’m not even talking about football players, you already know what they do on the field – lot of good men in that locker room. So I feel like they’ve done a good job of just helping me understand how to do things around here – not just on the field, but it’s a big building and you can get lost in here. Just things like that, telling me where I’m supposed to be, they’ve helped me out quite a bit.”
In an injury update, wide receiver Adam Thielen left practice on his own power Tuesday, but he appeared to turn or roll his left ankle. While hopefully not serious, he has 12 days before the Vikings’ season opener against the San Francisco 49ers.