MANKATO, Minn. –The Vikings received a standing ovation from filled bleachers as the team broke down its final training camp huddle at Minnesota State University, Mankato.
As Stefon Diggs exited the field, he acknowledged the impact training camp has had on the community.
"I can imagine how much it means to the people here and how many people come out every year just to see training camp and be a part of us," Diggs said. "It's a big family. So it's 'See you later.' There's no goodbyes."
The end of practice marked the end of an era. And while it's certainly a bittersweet day, the Vikings don't have much time to be sentimental as they look ahead to their first preseason game on Thursday. Minnesota is slated to play at Buffalo at 6 p.m. (CT).
"You still have to prepare," said receiver Stefon Diggs. "It's been a long training camp, and you have to continue to be on an uphill slope. You don't want to go downhill. You just have to continue to grow and get better. Every day is a work day, so more steps back."
Diggs said that he and the rest of the team have been working each day in preparation for the 2017 season in the wake of last year's 8-8 finish.
After focusing personally on his physical well-being and taking preventative measures to avoid injury, he said he's feeling positive after a healthy two weeks at camp.
"I thought I was doing a good job and obviously I wasn't, so [it was] back to the drawing board on trying new things and just basically having a better regimen on what you do on a day-to-day basis," Diggs said. "I've had a lot of conversations with some older guys on how they approach the game and things that they do to stay fine-tuned."
In 2016, Diggs had a strong showing with 84 catches for 903 yards and three touchdowns. But he's not one to dwell much in the past. He said that he and fellow receiver Adam Thielen – 967 yards and five scores – are each intent on having an even better season.
"You have to commit yourself all over again," Diggs said. "It's a new year, a new process, so it's a new slate. Draw it how you want it. We'll see the picture at the end of the year, but right now you're just really working on it."
He's been grinding all offseason, and now Diggs is ready to put his hard work to the test.
Preseason results may not count toward a team's record, but Diggs and the rest of the Vikings are chomping at the bit to start the year off right. He said he's just happy to "get back."
"[Putting] your game uniform back on, you know, football's actually back," Diggs said. "You're getting back in tune with things, hitting your own guys a little bit, but now you get to hit everybody else. So I just look forward to it. I'm excited."
Pace for Murray
Latavius Murray was able to participate in individual drills for the first time as a Viking on Monday and Tuesday, the final two practices of training camp at Minnesota State University.
Murray said he thinks coaches will "work me in slowly" as he comes back from ankle surgery.
"It wouldn't make any sense to try and rush into going out there, especially if I've only been doing individuals the past few days," Murray said. "I'm just trusting the process right now and making sure I'm getting better."
Asked if he thinks he will be ready to roll in Week 1 of the regular season, Murray said, "Yeah, that's the plan, so again, I just need to keep doing what I'm doing and improve."
Murray joined the Vikings this offseason after spending the first four seasons of his career with the Raiders. Oakland's players stayed at a hotel during their training camps instead of a campus. Murray said he enjoyed the unique environment.
"It was really fun," Murray said. "I think from my experience in Oakland and being in a hotel, I think for my first opportunity to stay in a dorm and ride bikes from the meal room to the dorm room, I think that's pretty cool."
Robison thinks Vikings are 'on task' toward goals
Brian Robison is the longest-tenured Viking. This summer marked the 11th time that he's prepared for a season in Purple on the Mankato practice fields.
"It passes by so fast," Robison said. "It seems like yesterday that I was coming in to my first training camp here."
Robison was asked about the camaraderie building that has occurred since players reported.
"I don't know what the rooming situation is going to be and all of that stuff, but I'm sure Zim' will probably try to keep us together as long as possible," Robison said. "I'm sure we'll still probably have plenty of opportunities."
As for the on-field progress toward the team's goals, Robison said, "I think we're on task."
"We've still got a lot that we want to get done, but the opportunity is there to be a really good team," Robison said. "I think we've just got to keep moving forward as we leave Mankato."