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Player Development

Several Minnesota Vikings players have taken advantage of the opportunities offered from Player Development, which includes off-season internships, continuing education, and financial learning.

Here is a breakdown of what Player Development is in the NFL:

Mission Statement

The mission of Player Development is to challenge National Football League players to be lifelong learners while pursuing continuous improvement in family relations, social interactions, personal growth and career development during and beyond their NFL careers.

What is Player Development?

Player Development through the use of Continuing Education, Career Internships, Financial Education, and Player Assistance Services ensures our athletes and their significant others will be thoroughly equipped for the challenges life may bring and for years after the NFL. It is our objective to increase the lives of our athlete’s off-the-field which also aids in their ability to perform effectively in their profession. 

Continuing Education

The NFL Continuing Education Program is designed to assist active NFL players with completion of their undergraduate degrees and/or pursuit of graduate or professional studies. The NFL Player Development Department staff administers the program by collaborating with the colleges and universities to develop plans that allow players to return to school in their franchise cities, at their original institutions or through distance learning. In addition, the program assists participants with the application registration, and enrollment processes.

The following Vikings players have returned to school to work towards completing their degrees:

  • Ryan Cook – University of New Mexico
  • Charles Gordon –Kansas University
  • Cedric Griffin – University of Texas
  • Otis Grigsby – University of Kentucky
  • Naufahu Tahi – Brigham Young University

Career Internship Program

The Career Internship Program is intended to provide meaningful job opportunities for players to gain experience in a field of their choice. This program allows players to build resumes, develop skill sets, examine their own interest, and build networks within various professional industries. 

Possible Internships include the areas of Ministry, Media, Coaching, Financial Services, Real Estate, and others.

Financial Education

The Financial Education Program provides engaging and unbiased education through programs and seminars that will improve the financial decision-making ability of players. The various programs teach players about cash management, insurance, tax planning, estate planning, investments, retirement planning and other related topics.

The 3 major components include:

1.  The Rookie Symposium where incoming players are educated by NFLPA staff, industry experts and current/former players about a variety of issues related to budgeting and accumulating financial wealth.

2.  Financial Education Seminars that are broken into a 4 quarter curriculum specific towards rookies, second, third, and fourth year players.

3.  NFL Business Management & Entrepreneurial Program where the NFL has connected with Harvard, University of Pennsylvania, Northwestern University, and Stanford to educate players on major business investments, negotiations, legal documentation, and entrepreneurship.

Player Assistance Services

The Players Assistance Program is designed to offer players resources that will help them cope with the personal stressors that come with a career in the NFL. This program involves counseling services, life skills seminars, and educational workshops that strengthen our players to effectively handle the work-life environment. Topics discussed include family relationships, conflict resolution, stress management, time management, and dealing with the immediate change in the NFL such as injuries, setbacks, and coaching changes.