Jason Trusnik believes his two years with Minnesota Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards will help with a quick and smooth transition for the linebacker the team signed on Tuesday.
“I think there’s a lot of similarities in the defense and where it all comes from. It kind of starts from (Mike) Zimmer back in Cincinnati and kind of transferred down,” Trusnik said Wednesday before his first practice with the Vikings. “It’s very similar, but just recall. I haven’t been out of Miami that long – a year or whatever. Recall and just getting used to some of the little difference, maybe a name or stuff, but at the end of the day football is football. I’ve been doing it for a while so I can catch up pretty quick.”
Trusnik spent four years with the Miami Dolphins, two of those (2012-13) with Edwards, before signing with the Carolina Panthers this offseason. The Panthers released him in September and he spent the last two months with his wife Nicole and three children – his wife had a daughter, Tatum, five weeks ago – and working out for “a couple” of NFL teams. He worked out for the Vikings two weeks ago and they told him to stay ready.
“He kind of knows the system, a good special teams players. He played a number of spots for them,” Zimmer said.
Trusnik played with Mike Wallace and Joe Berger in Miami and had met Chad Greenway at an event, so there is some familiarity with players on the roster.
Either way, he is happy to be back at work after waiting for “the right opportunity.”
“Whatever it was, obviously with some injuries and stuff like that to get the call back I was pretty excited. I know some guys here and I know what kind of locker room they’ve got, the camaraderie they’ve got and they’re doing some good things, winning, so I was excited to be here and be part of something here that’s hopefully special.”
Trusnik has played in 109 career games with 24 starts, garnering 146 tackles, four passes defensed, four fumble recoveries and one forced fumble in eight years.
The next challenge is getting ready as quickly as possible, maybe even this weekend with special teams as his “forte.”
Starting linebackers Eric Kendricks (ribs) and Anthony Barr (arm) were at practice Wednesday, but their availability for practice didn’t appear to be full go. Barr wasn’t in pads and Kendricks was on the side running for head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman at the start of practice.
“I think as far as understanding the defense, I haven’t been out on the field yet. We’ll get out there (Wednesday),” he said about 90 minutes before taking the field. “As far as the paper and the books, I’ve been studying. I have a good feel of what they’re doing. For me, it’s a lot easier being out there on the field knowing what the defensive line is doing in front of you, working with the linebackers, hopefully getting in there a little bit. For me, that’s a way of learning. Hopefully by the end of the week I can sit here and say I’ll be ready.”