EAGAN, Minn. — The story of Cornelius Edison begins with the Acts of the Apostles.
“My parents were in church, and I started kicking,” Edison said when asked about the origin of his first name. “They were talking about Cornelius in Acts, so that’s where my parents got my name from.”
Edison’s name has been mentioned more at Verizon Vikings Training Camp since Saturday when he stepped in with the first-team offensive line at center. He could open Minnesota’s first preseason contest of 2018 this Saturday at Denver.
First-teamer Pat Elflein opened camp still on the mend from offseason surgery, so Minnesota shifted left guard Nick Easton to center. Easton, however, suffered an injury during camp and last practiced on Friday.
The Vikings first-team offensive line from left to right on Tuesday was LT Riley Reiff, LG Tom Compton, Edison, RG Danny Isidora and RT Rashod Hill. RG Mike Remmers has been out since last week.
Edison said he is “trying to perfect my craft and get better every day.”
“I’m working on getting my hands right, staying low with my pad level and communicating efficiently with the rest of the offensive line,” said Edison, who joined the Vikings practice squad in 2017 and was briefly activated before returning to the practice squad.
That means Edison has some experience of going against Vikings Pro Bowl nose tackle Linval Joseph, who did not participate on Thursday. He described going against Joseph as “pretty fun.”
“I went up against him all of last year on the practice squad, but it was good work for me, improving my technique against one of the best in the NFL,” Edison said.
Edison played in six games with the Bears in 2016. He first joined Chicago’s practice squad in 2015 after playing collegiately at Portland State.
Edison said Elflein, a third-round pick in 2017, is a good friend who has helped him since Week 1 of last season. One transition for Edison from guard to center has been playing without a glove on his right hand when he is snapping.
“At center, I play with no glove,” Edison said. “At guard, I play with a glove. So, on these hot and humid days, my hand gets a little wet, but other than that, just running.”
The native of University Place, Washington, studied graphic design at Portland State.
“I liked art growing up, designing stuff, football jerseys, football equipment,” he explained. “I like being the most efficient on the field, whether it’s the lightest pads or the most comfortable cleats.”
Collins adds mass
Sprinters run in Aviante Collins’ family. His father, Bill, is a member of the TCU Letterman’s Hall of Fame as a three-time Southwest Conference championship sprinter. His brother, Lavon, was a two-time All-American sprinter/hurdler for the Horned Frogs.
The athleticism is great, but Aviante is a tackle in the NFL, and there’s a lot more to playing the post than his time of 4.81 seconds in the 40-yard dash that was the quickest among offensive linemen at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine.
He set out a goal not only to gain weight, but the right kind of it. After pumping iron and focusing on nutrition, Collins is pushing three bills, saying Tuesday that he’s up to 300 pounds.
“Weight was always one of the main problems,” Collins said. “Coming out of the combine, they wanted me to gain weight. That was one of the hard things because my whole family [was involved with] track, so I’ve always ran my whole life and been on the lighter end, but gaining weight was definitely a little bit harder. I’ve got it on now, so I’m pretty good.”
The weight difference is only between five and 10 pounds from a year ago, but Collins said he’s feeling the benefit of adding “good muscle mass.”
“Everybody thinks it’s just eating, but that’s not the case,” he said. “You’ve got to eat the right things and make sure you work out to put on that right muscle, so that’s what I did.”
Depth chart released
The Vikings released their first unofficial depth chart of 2018 on Tuesday. While unofficial is to be emphasized, it’s still worth a look:
The starting base defense, which led the NFL in points allowed and yards allowed last season, only had one change: offseason signee Sheldon Richardson at defensive tackle. Tom Johnson started 15 games, and Shamar Stephen started one last season at the spot for the Vikings. Both landed in Seattle via free agency.
Play of the day
There were a few to pick from, including a long completion from Kirk Cousins to Stefon Diggs against Xavier Rhodes for a 52-yard touchdown, but today, we’ll give a nod to the defense.
The offense had the ball with a first-and-10 at its own 41-yard line in a team period.
Everson Griffen delivered an impressive rush and likely would have collected a sack. Griffen pulled up to avoid Cousins but still pressured the pocket.
Cousins took a chance on a pass to Adam Thielen, but Rhodes picked it off. The play illustrated how a good pass rush and secondary can combine for a significant momentum swing.