Rookies ready to take it in

The Vikings reported to camp with all but second-round running back Toby Gerhart signed. The rookies that checked in Thursday are already feeling a good vibe on the team from their offseason workouts.

Vikings rookies arrive at training camp every year uncertain of what the coming weeks will hold. This year's crop was no different.

"I'm a little nervous. Nervous is always good. I'm just trying to come in with a straight head and take the coaching and go from there. I'm going to follow the veterans and their lead," said fourth-round defensive end Everson Griffen.

"It's just like my freshman year in college all over again. I've got my eyes on the prize, just going out there and working every day."

Second-round cornerback Chris Cook said he is healthy now after being limited by a hamstring injury in minicamp. But even if he was limited physically, being around the team and meshing with his new teammates was important.

"It's good to build relationships, and I feel that's what OTAs and minicamp did for us young guys," Cook said.

Training camp will offer a little different atmosphere. Cowboys rookie receiver Dez Bryant made headlines by refusing to carry the shoulder pads of veteran receiver Roy Williams.

Rookie initiations are often part of the camp atmosphere, and most rookies accept it willingly.

"I have been talking to Chad Greenway a little bit, and he just told me to be ready. I'm preparing myself for the worst and if the best happens, then so be it," said fifth-round linebacker Nate Triplett. "I have heard some things here and there; that they pull some little pranks, but I'm ready for it."

Some believe the initiations help build chemistry, but Griffen believes that part of team-building is already there from what he's witnessed in organized team activities and minicamps throughout the spring.

"I love this team like that. You can talk to anybody on the team, including the veterans and they will give you good advice," he said. "They are here to help you and make you better and win games."

Said Triplett: "I think that (the veterans) have been very open and accepting of me, especially the linebacker group. I think they feel I can help the team, and I know I can (help the team). … I went out to Chad Greenway's camp in Hutchinson (Minn.) just to help him out a bit. I think that building a relationship like that can help us on the field as well, because the more they trust me, the more comfortable they feel with me on the field. If they feel comfortable with me, then I think the better chance we have of winning as a football team."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

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