Earlier this month, Latavius Murray told Vikings.com about his offseason adventures that involved traveling to Haiti in addition to joining the NFL’s 2018 USO Tour.
Accompanying Murray, four other current players and former NFL head coach Rex Ryan was NFL.com’s Marc Sessler, who recently recapped his experience. He reflected on the traveling party that “did not lack for personality” and the group’s stops at U.S. Military bases in Italy and Germany. Sessler wrote:
[Our] stop at Aviano Air Base afforded us a king's tour of this large-scale operation, complete with F-16-littered runways and hulking air hangars.
The USO worked with Aviano to create a day-long visit that allowed players to embed with the service members. Much more than just signing autographs and shaking hands.
“It's pretty cool to actually get one-on-one time with them. Just talking about random stuff and seeing that they're actual people, too,” said Kyle, an airman at Aviano and Vikings fan who logged some serious facetime with Murray, the Minnesota running back.
Sessler said that Carlos Dunlap and Murray “took turns trying to fit into the cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet,” and a group of airmen emphasized positives of life on the base that “mask the day-to-day reality that any airman at Aviano could be deployed” at any time.
At the Ghedi Air Base, Dunlap was asked to film a brief spot for the USO. Murray had fun during the taping while also making time for fans.
Sessler recalled how Murray’s ribbing of Dunlap after the first take forced a second attempt at the filming.
This was Murray all week. Unfurling perfectly timed quips and hilarious complaints, but giving his every second to the Vikings fans and soldiers we encountered along the way.
“I have a fiancée who's in the Navy and who spent time in Japan, then California, and now Miami,” Murray told Sessler. “I take away that [one of these soldiers] could have been her. Or, for instance, if I wasn't doing what I was doing, that could be me.”
Click here to read Sessler’s recap of the USO Tour in full.
‘Things to watch’ at Vikings OTAs include offensive line
The Vikings this week kicked off their second week of Organized Team Activity practices.
Matthew Coller of 1500ESPN.com opined “things to watch” in practices four, five and six of 10 total scheduled at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center.
Included on Coller’s list were “offensive line combos” and the “receiver battle.”
He said that it will be interesting to see what combinations the Vikings work out together on the line, writing the following:
Last week, [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer suggested that he might have Mike Remmers work in at right tackle for the second session of OTAs. Remmers was at right guard for Week 1 with Tom Compton playing right guard. Zimmer cited Rashod Hill being “a little banged up” as a reason Hill did not see first-team reps with Remmers at guard.
With Pat Elflein on the mend, Danny Isidora got a chance to practice at left guard. Zimmer was impressed with Isidora last offseason and may want to see more of him.