VIDEO: Vikings Rookies Not Intimidated by High Expectations
by KVRR Sports
July 30, 2013
At the Vikings' annual training camp, it's not unusual to see packs of players roaming the MSU Mankato campus. This year, however, fans can expect to encounter a group of nine rookies who are intent on sticking together.
"There's a special bond between the whole class of the draft because we all came in together," said defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd. "We're all tight. We eat togther and sit together. I mean, it's like college."
And just like college, there is an even tighter group forming within the Vikings' class of rookies, their three first-round draft picks: Sharrif Floyd, Xavier Rhodes and Cordarelle Patterson.
"The Vikings did a great job of coming to get us three, you know, we feel like wherever we go we seem to contribute to the team," wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson said. "Us three had a good talk about this - they sacrificed a lot getting all three of us in the first tound."
From the time of that fateful draft night phone call to the start of their first NFL camp, the rookies have enjoyed the ride.
"It's been a great experience," cornerback Xavier Rhodes said. "When I went home I just talked to a few friends that wish they was [sic] in my shoes. So, I take advantage of this opportunity I'm given and cherish every moment."
It comes as no surprise that the trio of first rounders are sticking together as they enter camp. After all, each is facing a similar set of high expectations regarding their performance - whether its from the coaching staff or the Vikings' fans. However, each rookie said he isn't letting that effect him.
"Of couse they expect a lot for us, but other than that I don't put pressure on my shoulders, that just leaves worry and that leaves a lot to think about," said Floyd. "So, you know, I just come out here every day and keep in my mind 'let me get better.'"
It was with the same attitude that the trio faced their first training camp practice.
"I wasn't nervous - probablu because we ain't got [sic] no pads on. Probably on Monday I'll probably get a little nervous because, you know, defense, they like to hit and stuff," Patterson said.
But the rookies refuse to let a few hits sway their confidence.
"We're going to have faith in ourselves, you know, who else will? So, we have faith that we'll come in and help the team b any means necessary. If that's special teams, defense, offense, no matter what it is, we came here just to help the team," Rhodes said.
The trio's first opportunity to lend their team a hand will come August 9th against the Texans. The game marks the beginning of the Vikings' preseason schedule and will cue a countdown to the start of the regular season, where rookies and veterans alike aim to have a repeat playoff appearance.
FOX Sports reporter Lauren Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org