EAGAN, Minn. — Vikings defensive tackles — including Hall of Famer Alan Page — scribbled autographs on Sunday at Verizon Vikings Training Camp.
The current players partook in a scheduled session for fans attending camp at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center after the morning walk-through. Page’s impromptu session occurred later in the day while he was in the on-site Vikings Locker Room Store, stocking up on items for his grandchildren.
After new addition Sheldon Richardson finished his autograph session, he stepped into a photo with Page and his family. Richardson grinned broadly as he stood beside the nine-time Pro Bowler.
The young 3-technique who joined the Vikings as a free agent this offseason and the revolutionary defensive tackle enjoyed their first meeting, as did Page.
“He was very excited, and I was thrilled to meet him,” Page said. “Just that youth and enthusiasm, I was very impressed.”
Page’s quickness at the line and ability to pressure quarterbacks helped him total 108.5 sacks in Purple from 1967-78.
Page said he’s impressed with the way that Richardson plays the position.
“He has carried it on and perfected that sort of [play],” Page said. “You build on the past, and today’s team is doing just that.”
Page and his family — wife, Diane; children Justin and Kamie; and grandchildren Amelia, Theo, Otis and Esther — visited the Vikings new headquarters and practice facility for the first time.
There are reminders of Page’s time and dominant play inside the building that opened in March, from a series of six portraits of Vikings players who have had their jerseys retired, as well as portraits of Page, Jim Marshall, Gary Larsen and Carl Eller in the administrative wing of the building.
A wall graphic on the outside of the defensive line meeting room includes Page, Eller and John Randle.
The dedicated meeting space — and the padded, theater-style seats in the TCO Performance Center’s auditorium — stood in stark contrast to the depths of Metropolitan Stadium, where the Vikings sat in metal folding chairs during strategy sessions.
“The first thing you’ll notice off the bat is the facility, from folding chairs in the bowels of Met Stadium to the auditorium where they have their team meetings, it’s just light-years in terms of progress,” Page said.
He also took special note of the newest installation, portraits of students from the Metro Deaf School that were recently installed.
“One of the things that I find really special from touring the building is all of the community-related space, artwork,” Page said. “I think most of the players back when I played were community oriented, but not like this, so that’s pretty special.”
The Page family capped the day by strolling through the Vikings Museum, which officially opened last week after a private reception for Vikings Legends was held on July 20, and meandering through the team store.
Page said he appreciates the opportunities that TCO Performance Center and the Vikings Museum present to connect his family to generations of Vikings family members.
“The right word is family. It feels like that, and to be able to have my children and grandchildren be a part of it and get a chance to connect with my past in ways that they wouldn’t normally and don’t normally, it feels pretty good,” Page said. “I’ve never been one to sort of spend a lot of time talking about the past and my past with my kids and grandkids, so for them to be able to see it without me having to sort of characterize it for them, I think that’s probably pretty good. I’m kind of excited about that.”