EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The launch of the Vikings voluntary offseason workout program represented the beginning of eras in purple for newcomers and the continuing of sagas for returnees.
Mike Wallace is one of more than a dozen players to join the Vikings in 2015. The speedy receiver was acquired from Miami in a trade for draft pick compensation in March and began his seventh pro season at Winter Park Monday.
Wallace said he had some background info on teammates from being a fan of the sport during his four seasons in Pittsburgh and two in Miami but he said he looked forward to getting to know them on a personal level.
"Just getting to know the guys, honestly. It's a brand new team," Wallace said. "There's a lot of guys I knew about before I got here as a football fan, so I knew a lot of guys on the team. I didn't know too many personally, but I'm a fan of a lot of guys on the team and am excited about getting to know my teammates and learn a new city."
Camaraderie between teammates is built over the course of sweaty spring and summer workouts, the total immersion of training camp and forming one purpose before the season.
In addition to beginning or extending those relationships, the Vikings and 24 other teams were allowed to begin their nine-week programs that progress in intensity. Teams with new head coaches were able to start two weeks earlier.
Wallace said competitive fire emerged on the opener.
"Just go out and show everybody what you've got," Wallace said. "You don't want to be the last guy. You want to come in in shape and get through the workouts. It's going to start out slow, but as it picks up, you've got to be ready, so we're taking it one day at a time and getting better every single day as we go."
Several lockers down from Wallace's, defensive tackle Shariff Floyd said he was excited to open his third season and appreciative of the general continuity of the Vikings coaching staff and already knowing so many teammates.
"There's a certain comfort level you reach going into things," Floyd said. "I couldn't be any more comfortable now, knowing the whole coaching staff, knowing every player on the team, getting to know the new guys coming in is just a good feeling, a really good feeling."
Just a year ago, Floyd was becoming acquainted with new Head Coach Mike Zimmer, Defensive Coordinator George Edwards, defensive line coach Andre Patterson and strength and conditioning coach Evan Marcus and assistant Jeff Hurd. This season, the only change Floyd will experience is new assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez.
Floyd said he spent more time in Minnesota this offseason, which also included working out with his high school strength coach Greg Garrett at Level 40 Training & Performance Center near Floyd's hometown of Philadelphia.
"I stuck around Minnesota a lot, hung out in Philadelphia a little bit and stayed low-key," Floyd said. "I pretty much had winter all year round. Going back to Philly, it didn't get better. Philly was actually worse this year. When it was snowing there, it was like 60 here, and we were freezing there."