Vikings nose tackle Linval Joseph may be mammoth, but he's stealthy.
Although Joseph made an exceptionally quiet entrance to Vikings Training Camp check-in day Thursday, the Star Tribune's Mark Craig caught up with him via phone to discuss the 2016 season and Minnesota's defensive line.
After missing four games in 2015 due to a toe injury, Joseph said he now feels 100 percent and is ready to go.
"I won a Super Bowl with the Giants [in 2011], so I know what it takes up front and how important it is," Joseph told Craig. "That year, everybody came together at the end and did their job to a T. You trusted the guy next to you. I know this defensive line is capable of the same thing. We're younger, more athletic, with depth and the tools to win the Super Bowl. We can be as good as we want to be."
The faces of the franchise — Teddy Bridgewater and Adrian Peterson — obviously are vital, but if the Vikings are to reach their first Super Bowl since Jan. 9, 1977, they'll need to do so the old-fashioned Vikings Way with defensive line as their guiding heartbeat.
"We figured we had the pieces," defensive end Brian Robison told Craig. "We just didn't know if it would come together that quickly. Now, for us to make that Super Bowl run, it starts up front with us."
Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson was with the Vikings in the late 90s, when Minnesota again knocked on the door of the Super Bowl.
"You can't match a John Randle or a Chris Doleman," Patterson told Craig. "But from one to nine, I've got more overall talent as a group now."
As for the Big Toe of the Franchise, Patterson shoots even higher, saying Joseph was "hands down, the best nose tackle in the league" last year because of his rare combination of strength against double teams and lateral quickness to make plays near the sideline.
For Joseph, today is about getting down to business and seeking out a championship for Minnesota.
"It's a busy day," Joseph told Craig. "It's time to go to work building a Super Bowl-winning defense."
Zimmer contract extension speak volumes
When Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman announced Thursday that the team had signed Head Coach Mike Zimmer to a contract extension, the news was met with nothing but positive reaction.
ESPN's Ben Goessling wrote about Zimmer's extension and what the coach's deal says about him and the franchise. Goessling wrote:
*Zimmer, 60, wasn't entering the last year of his contract in 2016 and said Thursday there was "nothing pushing this deal." The fact that the Vikings approached Zimmer's agent, Marvin Demoff, about an extension this early shows that team decision-makers have made up their minds about the kind of leader Zimmer is. And after two impressive seasons -- one in which he led the team to a 7-9 record without star RB Adrian Peterson, and last year's campaign, when he directed an 11-5 team that became the first in league history to host a playoff game in a temporary stadium -- Zimmer's bona fides have been quickly established around the league. *
Zimmer is hesitant to be overly optimistic, and he's not one to put the cart before the horse. It's a new season, and he said he knows things can change quickly.
But the Vikings acted early on a deal for Zimmer precisely because they believe they have the right leadership structure in place. That commodity is not to be taken lightly in the NFL, and after the turmoil they've had with coaches, the Vikings weren't about to squander it.
"All I know is this is the right organization for me," Zimmer said. "The people here are the right people. I believe this team is the right team for me, just [with] the mentality and those things. That's kind of where I go, and I still hope to prove a lot of other people wrong."
Brett Favre adding radio host to long list of accomplishments
Former Vikings quarterback Brett Favre is adding another skill to his resume: radio host.
The Associated Press reported Thursday that Favre is joining satellite radio, his first regular sports media role since he retired following the 2010 season.
One day before Favre is inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Aug. 6, he will debut on SiriusXM with a special town hall style of show from Canton, Ohio. He will host a series of hour-long programs during the season, starting in September.
"I am looking forward to working with SiriusXM NFL Radio this season. I've been a listener, both when I played and after I retired, and it's a great place to talk about the game," Favre told the Associated Press. "I'm excited to talk with fans and weigh in with my opinions on what's happening in the league, and it'll be fun talking to some former colleagues now and then."