Skip to main content

News | Minnesota Vikings –

Twins Pitcher Jake Odorizzi Enjoys Father-Son Visit to Vikings Training Camp


EAGAN, Minn. – Jake Odorizzi spent Monday night on the pitcher's mound and Tuesday afternoon on the sideline of a football field.

Odorizzi and his son, Rhett, visited Verizon Vikings Training Camp for Minnesota's 10th full-team practice. The Twins pitcher visited with Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman and reconnected with Adam Thielen, who participated in SKOL Night at Target Field earlier this spring.

Rhett got to hold Thielen's helmet – it was a handful for the youngster – en route to the practice field and later was gifted one of the Pro Bowler's gloves.

Odorizzi called Thielen an "outstanding guy" whom he's enjoyed getting to know.

"And obviously his story is one of the better ones you'll really ever hear about," Odorizzi said. "Rhett got to carry his helmet for a little bit on the walk out here, and I just got to talk to him and wish him the best for this year."

He added: "I try to build a bond with other athletes in the area."

After catching Kirk Cousins' first pitch at the Twins SKOL Night, Odorizzi appreciated watching the quarterback sling a football this time around.

"I'm just happy that we're out here and get to do these cool things with the Twins and the Vikings having such a great relationship," Odorizzi said. "It's really cool to get to intermingle with athletes from the different teams around Minneapolis. We had some guys come out and hit [batting practice] with us … so it's cool to see them come work like they've come to see us, too."

Odorizzi originally was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers 32nd overall in the 2008 Major League Baseball Draft. After spending 2008-10 in the Brewers minor league system, he was dealt in a multi-player trade to the Kansas City Royals.

Odorizzi was called up to the majors in September 2012 and made two starts for Kansas City that season. He went on to spend 2013-17 with the Tampa Bay Rays and joined the Twins via trade in February 2018.

This season, Odorizzi is 12-5 with a 3.61 ERA and 120 strikeouts over 114 and 2/3 innings pitched.


His successful baseball career hasn't dulled his passion for football, however.

Odorizzi smiled as he watched the Vikings go through situational drills, saying it was fun "just being around football again."

Having lined up at safety and wide receiver all four years at Highland High School (Illinois), he said football was always his favorite sport to play.

"It's just one of those things that will never get boring for me. It's always a fun thing to come out and watch high-quality football," Odorizzi said. "Obviously, the last time I had pads on I was a high school player, far and away from what I'm watching right now, but that desire never leaves you.

"I got drafted right out of high school, so I went the baseball route right then and there, no college," Odorizzi said. "[Football] was one of my loves. I knew baseball was going to be the calling, but I wanted to enjoy football as long as I could."

The 29-year-old credits his football experience with helping him develop into the MLB pitcher he is today. He pointed to the competitiveness, drive and "almost anger" required on the football field that impacted his approach to baseball.


"You want to be the nicest guy in the world when you're not on the field, but when you're on the field, it's about business, and it's about being better than the person across from you," Odorizzi said. "And that's exactly what football is. That taught me to be the competitor that I am. Nobody wants to lose, and I'm no different.

"You want to have the edge over [the opponent]. You want to feel in control as a pitcher. … You want to dictate the pace, dictate what's going on," he continued. "It's all about the work you put in and what you're going to get out of it."

Odorizzi grew up in Breese, Illinois, which is located 40 miles outside of St. Louis.

He recalled watching the Rams "in their hey-day," and at 9 years old he watched Kurt Warner, Marshall Faulk and Isaac Bruce lead the team to a victory in Super Bowl XXXIV.

Nearly 20 years later and with a sideline view of the Vikings prepping for their 2019 season, Odorizzi shares and understands the common drive to be great.

"Now being in professional sports myself and having that desire to win championships, it gives you a different perspective on being a part of it opposed to watching it from the outside," Odorizzi said. "You know why people get drawn into it."