Minnesota sports fans are likely familiar with Torii Hunter, who played for the Twins from 1997-2007 and again in 2015 after five seasons with the Angels and a two-year stint with the Tigers.
What fans might not realize, however, is that before turning his attention to baseball, Torii was first passionate about football. Now, he's living out some of that passion through his son, Monshadrik.
Matt Vensel of the *Star Tribune *spoke with Torii over the phone about his love for the pigskin.
"I was always around the ball and could hit some guys and make some loud noises, before the targeting [rules] and everything, of course," Hunter told Vensel. "I know I could have played in college. And I'm pretty sure if I put my mind to it, I could have given myself a really good chance of getting to the NFL."
But Hunter turned his focus to baseball when he realized that he could be a first-round pick in the 1993 MLB Draft. He now has nine Gold Gloves, two Silver Slugger Awards and has received five All-Star nods.
His son, however, is pursuing the NFL, not the MLB.
Monshadrik, who goes by Money, recently finished his fourth season as a defensive back at Arkansas State and will participate in the Red Wolves pro day Friday. Vensel wrote:
A four-year starter for the Red Wolves, Money is the Sun Belt Conference's all-time leader in career pick-sixes with four taken back to the house. In 2016, he was third on the team with 73 tackles, helping him garner first-team all-conference honors.
Money said NFL scouts who have chatted with him are split about whether the 6-1, 194-pounder's best position is free safety, strong safety or cornerback. Hoping to just get a chance to play in the pros, Money said he is willing to line up wherever any NFL team wants.
Vensel wrote that Money doesn't have expectations to be drafted but hopes to sign with a team as an undrafted free agent.
"I've got good instincts," Money told Vensel. "I love to make a play on the ball before I can make a tackle. And I want to get to the end zone. I'm a playmaker."
Grading free agency thus far
The Vikings have now signed four free agents from other teams – and also agreed to terms to bring back cornerback Trae Waynes Wednesday – since the free agency period opened at 3 p.m. (CT) last Thursday.
Minnesota added tackles Riley Reiff (Lions) and Mike Remmers (Panthers) to strengthen their offensive line, signed former Packers defensive lineman Datone Jones, and most recently, reached a deal with former Raiders running back Latavius Murray.
ESPN's Ben Goessling opined Reiff as the Vikings most significant signing, saying he "figures to be a marked upgrade over what the Vikings had last season." He added that Minnesota's running back situation "might be settled" after signing Murray early Thursday morning.
Overall, Goessling gave Minnesota a 'B' grade for its free agency moves thus far. He wrote:
The Vikings needed to address their tackle situation, and they landed two veterans at the position. Their cornerback situation could need some maintenance, though, and they'll have to figure out if they have enough weapons on offense after letting Cordarrelle Patterson leave in free agency for Oakland. The Vikings have hit many of the positions they needed to fix after an 8-8 season, but time will tell whether they acquired the right players to fill those spots.