EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –New Vikings guard Alex Boone has worn No. 75 since entering the league with San Francisco in 2009, but he's willing to take one for the team.
In an interview with "Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen Friday morning, Boone said he plans to wear No. 76 so tackle Matt Kalil can continue wearing 75.
Boone and Kalil met Thursday afternoon at the Mall of America.
"[Matt] knew right away," Boone said, laughing. "He said, 'I know why you're bringing me here.' "
Boone explained the primary reason he asked Kalil to meet up was to start a camaraderie with his new teammate. The undeniable elephant in the room, however, was the shared jersey number between the two linemen.
"I did have to bring it up," Boone said. "But [Matt] didn't even have to respond. He just looked really sad; and then I went to my sad place and thought, 'What if someone asked me to give up my number?' "
Boone said he'll be proud to wear No. 76, especially considering former Vikings guard and seven-time Pro Bowler Steve Hutchinson wore the same digits.
"Steve Hutchinson, one of the greatest-ever to play the game," Boone said. "Hopefully I can be half of what he did for this game."
Now that the jersey number dilemma is decided, here are five other takeaways from Boone's first two days as a Minnesota Viking:
1. Bridgewater's bodyguard
Boone was able to meet Teddy Bridgewater Thursday, and Boone had a good vibe about the Vikings quarterback despite the brevity of the interaction. During a conference call with reporters Thursday, Boone said that Bridgewater greeted his new teammate with a hug.
"I can say after five minutes of meeting him, I already love him and will do everything I can to protect him," Boone said. "He told me he was excited I was here, and I believe him. He's one of those guys I've watched and he's always so calm in the storm, so to actually get to meet him and talk with him a little bit was really cool."
2. Advancing Adrian
Aside from protecting Bridgewater, Boone will also be part of an offensive line blocking for running back Adrian Peterson. Boone is well-versed in blocking for talent, as he spent part of his first seven seasons blocking for five-time Pro Bowler Frank Gore.
When asked during his interview with Allen if he's excited about the responsibility of helping Peterson, Boone's answer said it all:
"Are you kidding me?" asked Boone. "Am I excited to block for probably the best running back in the league right now? Is that even a question?"
View images from Alex Boone's first trip to Mall of America and the Vikings Locker Room Store.
3. Gearing up for gameday
After Boone signed his contract and met with media Thursday afternoon, he made some time in his schedule to swing by the Vikings Locker Room store in Mall of America and pick up some Vikings swag. In addition to purchasing some shirts for his wife and two young children, Boone also snapped a couple of photos with fans and signed autographs.
4. Welcomes the weather
If fans are concerned about Boone's reaction to Minnesota weather after living in California, they needn't be. Boone isn't turned off by cold weather at all – in fact, he welcomes it.
"I'm from Cleveland," Boone reminded Allen. "Believe me – coming to Minnesota is like coming home […] I love the cold. I'm a big fan of it."
Although Boone didn't quite experience a typical winter day during his two-day visit, the die-hard hockey fan assures us he isn't afraid of snow and ice.
View images of new Vikings G Alex Boone from his days as a 49er.
5. Friendly faces
Boone may be new to the Vikings, but he has a number of friends already on the roster, including former 49ers teammates Carter Bykowski and Kevin McDermott. Boone also has trained with Zac Kerin. Although Boone already had his eyes on Minnesota, he said current Vikings players only helped make the decision easier.
"They all said the same thing," Boone told Allen. "This is the place to be. Coaches, organization, team, locker room – it doesn't get any better."