Vikings: It’s finally game week at TCO Performance Center

It’s game week for the Minnesota Vikings, and the anticipation was palpable in the locker room on Monday at TCO Performance Center.

After rookie mini camp, two months of organized team activities, mandatory camp and more than a month of training camp, it all starts for real on Sunday. The Vikings open the 2023 season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at noon at U.S. Bank Stadium.

"All the work we’ve been putting in since OTAs and leading up to know, it’s finally here. We get to go out there as a team and showcase the 2023 Vikings," offensive lineman Christian Darrisaw said.

What’s the most exciting part about Week 1? That it’s all for real after a long offseason, joint practices and three preseason games.

"You get to do it for real. This is what we work for, this is what we have nine weeks of OTAs for and six weeks of fall camp, all for this. Getting to play at U.S. Bank in front of all our fans, this is what you do it for," offensive lineman Garrett Bradbury said.


Maybe the best sight for Kevin O’Connell to see Monday? Everybody on the practice field looking healthy. O’Connell and the coaching staff had to trim the roster to 53 players and a 16-member practice squad. As preparations start for the Buccaneers, every player was present and accounted for at practice.

We’ll get an injury report later this week to see what players are dealing with as far as specific ailments.


Josh Metellus is entering his fourth NFL season and could be tasked with a larger role on defense in Brian Flores’ scheme. In his first three years, he’s guaranteed himself a roster spot on special teams. He’s played in 48 games with the Vikings after being drafted out of Michigan, and has 64 tackles.

He’ll be one of eight captains for the second time this season, a nod voted on by players.

"I think that’s amazing, highest honor you can get, especially from your teammates. These past few years being voted, especially by your peers, guys where it matters the most, that’s the highest honor you can get," Metellus said. "I’m extremely grateful and proud to be a captain of this team."


Myles Gaskin has been a busy man since signing with the Vikings late last week, largely spending time watching film and learning the Vikings offense in his hotel room on flash cards. He played in just four games with the Miami Dolphins last year and got 10 carries for 26 yards. Two years ago, he ran for 612 yards and three touchdowns.

The Vikings have Alexander Mattison and Ty Chandler at running back, but needed depth with Kene Nwangwu on injured reserve and missing the first four games.

"Being in the hotel just locked in. Turn off the TV, turn off the phone and just go back to school. Lock in, flash cards, a lot of that," Gaskin said. "Everybody seems positive so it’s really exciting to come here and be a part of this organization."


Jordan Addison is one of several rookies that will make his official NFL debut on Sunday with the Vikings, a moment he’s waited for since he was a little kid. The first round pick out of USC is expected to be the third receiver behind Justin Jefferson and K.J. Osborn. He made a highlight catch at Seattle in the preseason that was ruled out of bounds.

He made plays throughout training camp and joint practices, and now it’s all real on Sunday.

"We finally get to go out there and show what we’ve been working for. Really just going out there and suiting up in this Viking gear. As a kid, this is where I always wanted to be, to play in the NFL. Now that it’s the Vikings, I’m going to put on the jersey and live that dream," Addison said.