Vikings' rookie’s big day worth a Rolls-Royce ... ride
EAGAN, Minn. -- Vikings rookie cornerback Kris Boyd pulled into the players lot at TCO Performance Center in Eagan on Wednesday morning, June 12, and couldn’t help but ogle the Rolls-Royce parked nearby.
“I saw him get out and joked like, ‘You holding my keys for me?’ ” Boyd said, bashfully adding that he doesn’t remember exactly which player he was talking to, only that it was a defensive lineman. “He started laughing and then he made a deal with me when we got on the field.”
The deal was this: If Boyd snagged two interceptions during practice, he would get to go on a joy ride in the Rolls-Royce afterward.
Clearly motivated, Boyd intercepted backup quarterback Sean Mannion twice, earning praise from his teammates — and a sweet ride. That highlight-reel performance included an impressive sequence in which he tracked a deep pass nearly 50 yards downfield before making a lunging grab and returning it the other way.
“I’m was just out there balling and having fun,” Boyd said. “Then I saw the ball coming, and I was just trying to make a play. As soon as I caught it, I got up, and I was just smiling.”
More important than the ride in the Rolls-Royce is the fact that Boyd is starting to turn heads after being selected in the seventh round of April’s draft.
Originally projected as a mid-round pick out of Texas, Boyd is now intent on making the most of his opportunity with the Vikings, while playing alongside college teammate Holton Hill.
“It’s made the transition a lot easier,” Boyd said of playing with Hill. “I’m lucky to have him here with me. It’s a blessing. If I have any questions, he’s the first person I call.”
It’s been a work in progress so far for Boyd, though it’s obvious he has the raw ability to succeed at the next level.
“It’s been some good and some bad,” he admitted. “I’ve got to work on my technique a little bit. Everyone has just been telling me to keep my head up. I’m not going to just come out here and make a thousand plays. I’m just enjoying the process. It’s a dream come true to be here.”
Barr’s Bowl goal
After making four straight Pro Bowls, linebacker Anthony Barr has just one goal for this season.
“Win the Super Bowl,” he said. “That’s my only goal. That’s my only hope. I don’t care about personal stats or accolades. It’s all about winning. … I think we’re very well equipped (to win the Super Bowl). I’m excited.”
Barr committed to sign with the New York Jets in March before changing his mind and returning to the Vikings on a five-year, $67.5 million deal, which was less than what the Jets offered. Most likely, he has a better chance to win a Super Bowl in the near future with Minnesota.
There was talk during Barr’s flirtation with the Jets that he might be used more as a pass rusher. How much that happens this season remains to be seen.
“We’re working on a lot of different things right now,” he said. “So we’ll see what happens. It’s going to be a game plan thing. Each week will be different. … There’s no hope or expectations. It’s kind of whatever I’m asked to do, I go out and do it.”
Barr said spring drills, which wrap up Thursday with the final practice of a three-day minicamp, have been “business as usual.” He apparently has no regrets about having spurned the Jets.
“I made the decision for myself, and I’m living with it, so the results, we’ll see what happens,” he said.
Punters work out
The Vikings worked out free-agent punters Justin Vogel, Shane Tripucka, Drew Kaser and Austin Rehkow on Wednesday. It remains to be seen if they sign a punter before the start of training camp in late July to provide competition for incumbent Matt Wile.
Wile averaged 42.0 yards net last season but had issues as the holder. First-year special teams coordinator Marwan Maalouf said it has helped Wile working this spring with kicker Dan Bailey. Wile and Bailey both joined the Vikings last September.
“(Wile has) improved as a punter,” Maalouf said. “The familiarity he’s had with holding for Dan is good. When he came to us last year, I wasn’t here, but he didn’t have the preseason, he didn’t have OTAs. He didn’t have all those reps, so those reps are going to help out.”
Cutting still waiting
Rookie long snapper Austin Cutting is continuing to wait for the Air Force to decide if he will be able to play in the NFL in 2019.
The seventh-round draft pick has a two-year service commitment. An Air Force spokesman said this week “it will be much later this summer before any determination is made.”
“It’s a process, but I have full faith in the Air Force,” Cutting said. “I have full faith in everyone that’s helping me. They’re working on it well, and I appreciate them for that.”
Cutting is on a 60-day leave following Air Force’s May 30 graduation and said he will be on hand for the start of training camp. He’s hoping to be stationed at Offutt Air Force Base outside Omaha, Neb., likely the closest possible option to the Twin Cities.
For the second straight day of minicamp, the Vikings were without three injured tight ends: Irv Smith Jr., David Morgan and Tyler Conklin.
Four other players were again out: cornerback Mike Hughes, defensive end Tashawn Bower and wide receivers Jordan Taylor and Jeff Badet. Linebacker Reshard Cliett returned but receiver Brandon Zylstra was out Friday after leaving practice early Tuesday.
Badet has a hamstring issue. He’s hopeful it won’t hamper him in his plan to compete in 40 Yards of Gold, a June 29 made-for-television 40-yard dash competition in Sunrise, Fla., between NFL players. Vikings cornerback Trae Waynes is also scheduled to run.