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Lunch Break, 10/22: A Gophers-Vikings Bond

Look back at photos over the course of time featuring games between the Vikings and the Buccaneers.

Vikings quarterback Chandler Harnish and Gophers quarterback Mitch Leidner share a common bond thanks to Gophers Head Coach Jerry Kill. Harnish, who played for Kill at Northern Illinois, has served as a mentor to the Gopher quarterback since joining the Vikings.

Chip Scoggins profiles the two signal callers' relationship in his column:

Already playing with a sprained knee ligament, Leidner also suffered a turf toe injury that knocked him out of the game in the fourth quarter. Basically, the Gophers sophomore quarterback was a mess.

He called a friend for advice two days later.

"I asked from a mindset of, how do you bounce back from a game like this?" Leidner said.

The person on the other end knew exactly how Leidner felt. Chandler Harnish had endured tough situations similar to that as a young college quarterback, too.

Leidner felt better after Harnish's pep talk, which he described as "comforting."

"He's a great resource for me," Leidner said.

Their relationship has blossomed from an initial phone call last winter arranged by Gophers coach Jerry Kill, who suggested that Leidner contact Kill's former quarterback at Northern Illinois.

Originally just a casual long-distance friendship, the two spend more time together now that Harnish is a member of the Vikings practice squad.

Harnish visits the Gophers facility on his days off and recently studied video with Leidner and the other Gophers quarterbacks. Harnish watched the past two games from the sideline, offering encouragement to Leidner between series.

"It's cool to have a guy who's been through it all to be able to help you like that," Leidner said.

*Harnish makes it clear he's not trying to overstep his bounds. He remains very close to his former coaches, particularly quarterbacks coach Jim Zebrowski. Those men are the experts, but *

Harnish appreciates that Kill entrusted him to help nurture Leidner's development.

"I like to think of it a little bit like a mentor-type relationship," Harnish said. 

A very cool story about a unique relationship. Read the entire story at

Quick Hitters

  • Via Mark Craig of the Star Tribune - Two injuries left the O-line one away from tight end Rhett Ellison playing some offensive tackle Sunday.
  • Tomasson: Leslie Frazier will be familiar face on Buccaneers' sideline.
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