EAGAN, Minn. — *Tom Compton has lived a nomadic existence on the football field and off it. *
That could soon change in more ways than one.
The native of nearby Rosemount signed with the Vikings — the team he loved during his youth — on Thursday and took his first steps inside the posh new locker room at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Compton is excited about the opportunity for multiple reasons.
Originally drafted by Washington in 2012, Compton’s played through 2015 with the Redskins. He joined the Falcons in 2016, helping Atlanta reach Super Bowl LI, and played for the Bears last season.
“I’m kind of nomadic right now,” Compton said during an interview with Vikings.com. “We basically pick up and move wherever I’m playing, so we’re trying to move here as quick as we can, hopefully find something soon, and be here for the whole season and offseason.”
In addition to bouncing from city to city, Compton also has bounced between playing tackle and guard in the pros. Compton said during a conference call with media members that he thinks the plan will be for him to initially work at guard, “see how that goes, but also be able to plug into other spots.”
“That’s kind of what I’ve done for most of my career, bounce around to different positions,” Compton added. “I think they’ll see how guard goes and kind of go from there.”
Compton worked at guard extensively in 2017 with Chicago. He started five games, including the regular-season finale against Minnesota at U.S. Bank Stadium. He said his role with the Vikings is “really up to the coaches.”
“I want to see what they think, but I’m definitely here to compete for a starting spot,” Compton said. “That’s my mentality, and we just have to see how things go in OTAs and work from there.”
After starting his final two seasons at Rosemount High School, Compton played for the University of South Dakota, staying relatively close to home and garnering First-Team All-Great West Conference honors in 2010-11.
Compton said he didn’t realize his sister was driving when he called to tell her that he was becoming a Viking. The excitement nearly caused her to have an accident.
Thankfully, that didn’t happen.
A dream that Compton formed during his youth will.
Compton said he appreciated the play of legendary linemen Randall McDaniel and Steve Hutchinson during his youth.
“Randall McDaniel is kind of The Dude, right? So you got to see a lot of that, and then throughout high school, seeing Steve Hutchinson,” Compton said. “We’ve had a lot of really talented guys come through here.”
Fresh off signing his contract and touring the Vikings new practice facility, it was clear the reality of *being *a Viking was beginning to solidify.
“It’s pretty unbelievable. I’ve grown up a big Vikings fan,” Compton said. “The opportunity that I have is pretty unreal. It’s going to take a while for it to all set in, but at the end of the day, I’m here to play football. It’s the most important thing to me. I’m just excited for the opportunity.”
View images of Vikings new offensive lineman Tom Compton from his days with the Chicago Bears, the Atlanta Falcons, and the Washington Redskins.
In addition to the trajectory of the Vikings on the field, the amenities at TCO Performance Center and the opportunity suit up in the home locker room at U.S. Bank Stadium, Compton also is excited to reconnect with new Vikings QB Kirk Cousins.
Compton and Cousins roomed together for multiple seasons when their time in Washington overlapped. Compton said the strong relationship began when they arrived at Dulles International Airport as draft picks taking their first steps in the NFL.
“[The friendship] just went off from there,” Compton said. “We actually ended up being roommates for three years. It kind of clicked right away. Definitely one of my best friends, and I’m super excited to play with him again.
“It’s really weird how it happened, just knowing that Kirk was coming here and the Vikings were interested. It all just made too much sense to not [sign with Minnesota],” Compton added. “My history with Kirk is awesome. We played together for four years in Washington, just knowing the kind of guy that he is, to have the opportunity to play with him again is pretty special.”
Compton said Cousins is a “natural-born leader,” adding, “I knew it the minute I met him.”
“Knowing Kirk, he’s basically tailored his life around football,” Compton said when asked what others might not yet know about Cousins. “He has a great support staff. I think winning is all that he cares about right now. I’ve seen him work super hard, harder than most people, and the fact that he has this opportunity now is going to push him even harder. It’s something that he takes pride in, so I think you’ll see that.”
In addition to Cousins, Compton said he already knows Vikings left tackle and South Dakota native Riley Reiff, as well as linemen Cornelius Edison and Dieugot Joseph.
He also knows what it’s like to play against the likes of Linval Joseph from the 2017 regular-season finale. Compton said facing the Pro Bowl nose tackle and recently signed Sheldon Richardson in practices can only help make his game better.
“I’m super excited to be here, back home,” Compton said. “I just want to throw a thank you to the Wilf Family, Rick Spielman and Coach [Mike] Zimmer for giving me the opportunity. I know this team is going in the right direction, and I’m just proud to be a part of it now.”