MANKATO, Minn. —Running back* *Bishop Sankey noticed a familiar name when the Vikings added linebacker Darnell Sankey to their roster Saturday morning.
The two are cousins, so you'd expect them to relish having a familiar face to lean on during the dog days of camp.
But the twist is that Bishop and Darnell had never met before Friday when Darnell arrived in Mankato for a workout and earned a spot on the camp roster.
"I didn't really know he was my cousin until I put two and two together," Bishop said.
Added Darnell: "I had never seen him until (Friday)."
The pair had known of each other and linked up on social media. But with Bishop growing up in Ohio and attending high school in Washington and Darnell rooted in Northern California, the two had never crossed paths.
They don't even know how exactly they are cousins, joking they need to sit down and draw out a family tree during some down time.
"We still have to hash that out," said Bishop, who said most of their family history can be traced to Alabama. "My grandpa is a Sankey on my father's side, so it has to be somewhere on that side."
Still, each is appreciative to have connected with a long-lost cousin … in Mankato of all places.
Bishop joined the Vikings practice squad in November and was a standout at the University of Washington before getting drafted in the second round of the 2014 NFL Draft by the Titans. Darnell, meanwhile, starred collegiately at San Jose State.
"It's real cool and unique to have somebody from the same blood line as you out here representing," Bishop said. "It's a good feeling but one of those things that doesn't happen often.
"We're both just out here trying to compete and earn jobs," he added. "We're bringing that mentality each day."
They'll get the opportunity to impress coaches over the next few weeks, but will get their first chance today when the Vikings put on full pads for the first time.
So what happens if Bishop plows through a hole and Darnell is there to meet him at the line of scrimmage?
"It's a matter of who brings it," Darnell said with a laugh. "When it comes down to it, there's no friends or family on the field.
"At the end, we're not going to hurt each other," Darnell added. "But we're going to compete."
Added Bishop: "It's football and the NFL, so on the field it's all business. Then when we're done, we're back to being family."