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'Rhino' Alex Boone Excited to Play 'Smash-mouth' for Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The first thing you notice about Alex Boone is his size.

At 6-foot-8 and 300 pounds, how could you not? But, after spending a few minutes with Boone at Winter Park, it became clear how the newest member of the Vikings offense oozes passion and energy for the game of football.

The Vikings on Thursday announced the signing of the guard who had been with San Francisco since 2009.

For Boone, he couldn't imagine being anywhere else than on a team that went 11-5 last season and won the NFC North championship.

"If you look at this team from a couple years ago to what they are now, we are so close to greatness," Boone said.

There is some familiarity for Boone with the Vikings. Both the 28-year-old and Vikings offensive line coach Tony Sparano were with the 49ers in 2015.

In addition, Boone credited the reputations of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and Offensive Coordinator Norv Turner for tilting the free agency scales toward Minnesota.

"Great, great staff," Boone said. "When you're looking at it, do you want to go (someplace else) or do you want to go be with these guys?

"Tony is a great guy, I love him to death, and we go back and forth all the time making fun of each other," he added. "Norv Turner, his track record speaks for itself. What else do you have to say? The guy can coach, and he does a great job with it."

Boone also said he's fired up to play in the NFC North, a division he enjoyed watching as he grew up because of its brand of smash-mouth football.

Boone said he can't wait to go up against Chicago, Detroit and Green Bay twice a year.

"There were a lot of things that brought me here," Boone said. "No. 1 was the division. Growing up, I watched this division a lot, being from Cleveland.

"This is the division where they pound each other and have a lot of fun doing it," he added. "This is the ultimate football."

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said Boone will fit right in with the rugged division.

"Alex is a little bit of a throwback," Spielman said to "The Voice of the Vikings" Paul Allen on the 9 to Noon show on KFAN 100.3-FM on Thursday morning. "He fits with mine and Coach Zimmer's personality.

"He brings that tough mentality that we're looking for," Spielman said. "I know what Coach Zimmer wants out of this football team – he wants a smart and tough and passionate football team. We want to be the guys who play the hardest on Sunday, and one thing Alex does bring is that attitude."

Nicknamed Rhino, the guard/tackle said he will bring his physical style of football to the Vikings. Boone said he can't wait to block for running back Adrian Peterson and protect quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

Boone met Bridgewater on Thursday at Winter Park and said he's always been impressed by the quarterback's demeanor on the field.

"He seems like the guy that kind of has it all going," said Boone, who was whistled for just four penalties in 13 games last season. "He always seems so calm, and I love a quarterback who can be calm in a bad situation.

"Bad things happen all the time," he added. "A guy that can see you through everything is the guy you want standing behind you."

An undrafted player out of Ohio State in 2009, Boone has risen from a practice squad player to starter. He made his first start at Green Bay on Sept. 9, 2012.

Boone played in eight postseason games with San Francisco and appeared in Super Bowl XLVII, a 34-31 loss to Baltimore.

As he donned his new team colors Thursday, Boone allowed himself to reflect on the past while thinking of the future, saying he'll always remember playing in the Super Bowl, yet craving another opportunity. 

 "As much hard work as you have to put in, it's so worth it," Boone said.

"We didn't even win, and I still thought it was amazing," he added. "To win it? I don't even know. I'd probably cry for weeks.

"I think this would be the perfect place to win a Super Bowl."

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