Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were both on Andy Reid’s staff in Philadelphia when the Eagles drafted Sheppard in the 1st round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Also, both Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Tom Kanavy and Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman were on the Eagles staff while Sheppard was in Philadelphia.
Sheppard said the presence of those familiar faces, most notably Frazier’s (he was the DBs coach), was a big reason he came to Minnesota.
“He actually got me my rookie year in the league (in Philadelphia) and I’ve obviously matured a lot since then,” Sheppard explained. “I definitely have a different mentality and approach to the game today. But it’s definitely good that he’s familiar with me and my skills and what I’m able to do. That was definitely a big part of me coming here.”
But the familiar faces aren’t limited to the coaching staff. Sheppard was teammates with
“It didn’t come as a surprise to me because I’ve been playing with G-Lew since he’s been in the league,” Sheppard said. “The way he was used in Philly, I mean it wasn’t a lot, but when he did get opportunities he made big plays. I think that’s what obviously got him over here and he’s not your every down receiver but when he’s out there he’s going to be productive.”
With OTAs beginning this week, Sheppard will get to know even more teammates as he continues to get acclimated in Minnesota and then the team’s mandatory minicamp in June will have him fully immersed as training camp approaches later this summer. For now, though, Sheppard says the locker room feels comfortable and his new teammates make for a great fit.
“It’s a pretty easy, laid back group right now,” Sheppard said. “Obviously the whole team isn’t here. This is just workouts. Everything changes, the tempo and the intensity picks up a little bit as the season nears. But I think this is a good starting point for everyone to get a sense of me, and vice versa.”
More About Lito
Favorite food: I love steak, seafood and pasta. Those are my top 3 and I can’t go wrong with any of those.
Last song downloaded: I’m pretty much a rap guy, but lately I’ve liked Usher. So I’d say something from Usher’s new album.
Last movie: Iron Man 2. I’m a big super hero fanatic in terms of action and suspense.
If not football, what would you be doing: Something to do with cars. I love cars and I’ve always wanted to build an engine.
Other sports: Before dedicating myself to football, basketball was my A game in middle school and high school. In 10th grade I had to switch to football because of my size.
NBA Finals pick: Los Angeles Lakers – Kobe is the man and his team is great
Hero growing up: That’s a no brainer – my Grandfather. He was strict on us growing up but I appreciate it now. It taught me a lot of disciple and organization. I tip my hat to him.