Throughout his career with the Vikings, Loeffler has been known as a standup guy and a great locker room presence, and that held true even after being released. McDermott had nothing but good things to say about Loeffler.
“I actually found out that I had made the team because Cullen called me to congratulate me,” McDermott said. “So that just speaks volumes about the guy. He’s a really, really special guy. I learned a lot from him. He’s been here for so long; he’s meant a lot to this organization so it means a lot to have him call me and congratulate me. It speaks a lot about the kind of guy he is.”
It’s never easy for a player to come into a new locker room and make friends with those around him, especially when it involves joining the specialists, who consist of the long snapper, kicker and punter working together for most of practice. It is a small group of people and some people might not take to kindly to the fact they know you are trying to take their job.
That is not how Loeffler was, though. He welcomed McDermott in and helped him out any way he could. Now McDermott wants to take what he has learned from Loeffler and get working with the other specialists.
“I think that Cullen and I both were professional about how we were handling going in and out,” he said. “It’s a tough situation when you have two guys going for the same job. They have a lot of continuity; they’ve been doing this together for two years now, so I appreciate how they’ve welcomed me in. I think the next couple of games we will be able to get into a good rhythm with the three of us.”
Another thing that eased the transition of joining the Vikings was the presence of Jeff Locke. Locke and McDermott played with each other at UCLA so they already had a good friendship coming into the offseason.
“I don’t think that relationship played a role in me getting the job,” McDermott said. “They didn’t choose me because I had a previous friendship with Jeff. But I think that anytime you know someone in the locker room, whether it’s Jeff or like when I was on the 49ers I knew people I played football with before. So whenever you know someone in that locker room it makes that transition easier because you’ve got a group of friends that you are already a part of.”
Before his time in Minnesota, McDermott had spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens. He has experienced a lot in his short career but he feels as though all of those things will only help him moving forward with his career and he is looking forward to the start of the 2015 regular season.
“When I was in San Francisco I was a rookie and we played in an NFC Championship game,” he said. “My first playoff game was at Green Bay when it was negative five degrees. Then last year I ended up getting cut in San Francisco and then going on to play in Baltimore. So I’ve played for a bunch of coaches and have played for a lot of teams. I think the more you go through that more you learn, so I feel like it’s prepared me for this upcoming season and for anything that can happen.”