The Minnesota Vikings have made several additions to their roster this offseason, signing two new offensive position coaches and numerous free agents. But one signing of theirs that may have flown a little under the radar is that of their new strength and conditioning coach Brent Salazar.
The players began their voluntary offseason workouts last week when they were allowed to come into the practice facility and work with the strength and conditioning staff. That is when most of them were first introduced to their new coach and it sounds as though he has not been taking it easy on the players.
“I like what coach Salazar is doing,” said defensive end Brian Robison. “He’s coming in there, it’s a high-tempo type deal. It’s a lot of circuit training and I think it’s going to be good for us, I really do. I think what he’s doing is probably a little harder than what we’ve done in the past, but it’s a great deal as far as getting range of motion in your hips, just getting some explosiveness in your legs. I think it’s going to be a huge deal for our team.”
Lower body workouts seem to be a real focus for Salazar so far this offseason. Defensive end Everson Griffen could not stop talking about his glutes and how important they are to having success in the NFL. “Glute activation” is what Griffen really seemed to focus on.
He went on to explain that “glute activation” is where the players squeeze their glutes together, relax a little bit and then go right back to squeezing them. Everything a football player is asked to do on the field starts with their core and their glutes, according to the high-energy and often humorous Griffen, which is why he believes these new workouts are really going to benefit them.
“It’s all the key, necessary pieces you need to have a structured football player because it comes from the glutes,” he explained. “Everything - how you move, how you jump - everything comes from the glutes, your trunk. So he brings all that to the table and the better glutes you have the more power you’re going to have, the more range you’re going to have, the mobility you’re going to have, just everything. Glutes are everything.”
Of course, the reaction to Salazar is different among different players. When cornerback Xavier Rhodes was asked what life is like under his new coach, he kind of just looked at the reporter and began to laugh. He then explained that it is a great workout and that the team is continuing to get more explosive.
Harrison Smith also laughed, but more so when he was asked about “glute activation” saying that it was a good Everson quote. But Smith reiterated what his teammates were saying about the intensity of the workouts and the amount of things they are doing in a single day.
“We’ve been working hard,” Smith said. “There’s a lot of volume. It’s only been a week and a day or two, so plenty of more work to be done.”
It is still really early to see how the hiring of Salazar is going to effect the team down the road, but for now it is clear all the players are impressed with the workouts they are being put through. Even the team’s quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was joking around with the local media about his time in the weight room so far this offseason.