EAGAN, Minn. — Storm Norton was in the eye of the storm at the end of 2017.
The Vikings offensive tackle spent the final six weeks of this past season on the practice squad, which meant daily scout team reps against the likes of Everson Griffen, Danielle Hunter and Brian Robison.
You know, the guys who combined for 24 sacks in 2017. Norton recently chatted with Vikings.com about being thrown into the fire against some of the top pass rushers in the league.
"It definitely helped me a lot, and it was better than sitting at home not getting any reps," Norton said. "You go against the No. 1 defense, be the scout team for them … they're the best defense in the league so going against them every day just makes me better.
"I appreciated it," Norton added. "I was just trying to focus on my fundamentals and get better … but those guys definitely make it harder."
Norton earned First-Team All-MAC honors at the University of Toledo in back-to-back seasons (2015 and 2016) but was not picked during the 2017 NFL Draft.
He landed with the Lions and spent the offseason and training camp with the team before bouncing on and off Detroit's practice squad in September and October. Norton then spent a few weeks with the Cardinals before the Vikings added him to their practice squad on December 12.
Norton has been with Minnesota ever since, participating in spring practices and now Verizon Vikings Training Camp at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
The 24-year-old said he values each day at camp, even when the days are long and the weather is warm.
"It's definitely a grind," Norton said. "You just have to find ways to come out here each day and focus on something to get better at. I've really held true to that."
"I'm really focused on the basic fundamentals of my technique," Norton added. "I think you start there and lay a good foundation for you to be successful down the road."
Here are three other topics Norton covered with Vikings.com:
Is there a story behind your first name?
"It's not really a cool meaning, but there was a Detroit Tigers pitcher back in the day … and I guess my parents were at a game … his name was Storm Davis. I guess right then and there they agreed upon that, and the rest is history.
You were playing with your son after practice, what it's like being a new dad?
"So he's 5 months (old), and his name is Ryker Lee Norton. But it's definitely the biggest blessing ever. It's been a blast to see how quickly they really grow and adapt to everything and the different milestones they reach. It's amazing to watch."
What's your favorite restaurant around town?
"I would definitely say Hazelwood, it's in Bloomington right by my apartment. They have some nice coal-fired pizzas. It's pretty good."