Caledonia, a southeastern Minnesota town of less than 3,000, is likely to have two players take the field Thursday night in Nashville in the Vikings 2015 preseason finale against the Titans.
According to Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press, more than a dozen people have made the road trip of more than 700 miles, including the parents of Vikings rookie free agent Isaac Fruechte.
They'll see another former Caledonia star, Karl Klug, at the onset of his fifth season with the Titans.
Tomasson wrote: Fruechte is looking forward to going up against a player he considers "like an older brother."
"[I've] known him since I was real young," said Fruechte, who has three catches for 28 yards heading into the Vikings' fifth and final preseason game. "Hopefully, we'll run into each other a few times and kind of bump pads a little bit."
Klug told Tomasson memories of growing up a Vikings fan, attending training camp and being somewhat star struck during his first NFL game, a preseason affair in 2011 against the Vikings in Nashville.
They're all looking forward to the rematch.
"Everybody in town is going to be watching," said Carl Fruechte, who coached both his son and Klug at Caledonia High School and is now an assistant coach for the Warriors. "Everybody has been talking about it, and everybody is excited to see Isaac and Karl on the same field."
Cornerback Josh Thomas quickly relocated from Charlotte, North Carolina, where he was running a real estate business to Mankato when he received a call from the Vikings at the start of training camp.
Now, he, and other players are trying to make their case to stay put by earning a roster spot. Teams must reduce their rosters from 75 to 53 by 3 p.m. Sept. 5.
Master Tesfatsion of the Star Tribune reported Thomas left running the company in his wife's hands and has been sprinting to catch up on the Vikings defensive system.
Thomas, who has played four seasons in the NFL, had a lot of ground to make up after missing veteran minicamp, organized team activities and minicamp in a new scheme. There are specific techniques that coach Mike Zimmer wants every cornerback to use at the position that can take time to learn, but Thomas has received praise for his work ethic from Zimmer, defensive coordinator George Edwards and cornerback Xavier Rhodes.
Thomas has played in 43 NFL games with 10 starts. He spent his first three seasons with Carolina and spent time with the Lions, Jets and Seahawks in 2014.
*Despite the long wait during the offseason to sign a deal, Thomas never thought the door was closed on his NFL career. *
"I got more eager as time went on, but at the same time my purpose in life is my wife and kids and becoming a better person," Thomas said. "This is my job, and I don't look at it any other way. I love it, and anything I get myself involved in I put 100 percent and passion."
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