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Zimmer Leads Team on 'Field Trip' to Vikings Museum

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EAGAN, Minn. – A group of Vikings teammates got a first-hand commentary of the Minneapolis Miracle from the star of the play himself.

On the eve of the players' first off day of Verizon Vikings Training Camp, Head Coach Mike Zimmer took the team on a surprise "field trip" to the Vikings Museum.

Wide receiver Stefon Diggs, whose leaping catch and walk-off touchdown against the Saints advanced Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game in 2017, stopped at the Minneapolis Miracle wall in the museum to re-watch the incredible moment.

As the now-famous sideline cam video played on the mounted television screen, Diggs stood near rookie cornerback Kris Boyd.

"Oh my goodness," Boyd said to Diggs. "Ay, you talk about going crazy? When you threw your helmet, that's when I was like this in the house."

Boyd reached his hands out in disbelief, widened his eyes and dropped his jaw, recalling his reaction to the play as a junior at Texas. He and Diggs shared a back-and-forth exchange as the video rolled.

"Where was the camera man?" Diggs asked, as if the question first occurred to him.

"They're everywhere! They're movin'."

"I ain't gonna lie; that [stuff] was lit, boy," Diggs said, smiling at the replay.

The receiver looked around the museum, calling for safety Harrison Smith to join the group. He pointed at Smith on-screen, attempting to pull players in Purple off the celebration pile that covered Diggs.

"I love Harry. Harry was telling everybody, 'Get up!' I couldn't breathe," Diggs laughed.

View photos of the team going on a surprise trip to the Vikings Museum led by Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

Quarterback Kirk Cousins also spent time there, calling the space a highlight of the museum experience.

"That Minneapolis Miracle moment is special," Cousins told Vikings.com. "You get goosebumps just watching it, and I wasn't even a part of it. I think it'll always be that way. It was a special moment. I remember watching it live, I remember where I was."

Cousins said the museum "exceeded" his expectations.

"I'm a history buff in general, so it's fun to see," Cousins said. "To know where you're going, you've got to know where you've been. So this is a special thing. It's really well done. I would encourage anyone who comes through the area to stop off the highway and come in and check it out; it's well-worth the trip."

For many of the players and coaches, and for General Manager Rick Spielman, Monday's visit to the Vikings Museum was a first.

Teammates filed through each section of the museum, some branching off to take in an exhibit or two in closer detail.

Kicker Dan Bailey gave the virtual reality headset a try while nearby, Eric Kendricks checked out the model of U.S. Bank Stadium and pointed out its miniature features.

Players quietly stood at one of the "Frozen in Time" columns that encases the late Korey Stringer's retired jersey, and rookie linebacker Cam Smith peered into another column at Cris Carter's Walter Payton Man of the Year trophy.

Second-round pick Irv Smith, Jr., was drawn to the Bud Grant display and asked questions about his role with the Minneapolis Lakers and the franchise's time in Minnesota.

Offensive Coordinator Kevin Stefanski showed tackle Rashod Hill the Metrodome space while sharing a story about the Vikings second of three permanent homes.

A few players laughed and snapped photos in the Vikings Helmet Car, and Zimmer stopped to smile and pose in front of the Gatorade Splash Wall.

Several stopped to view the names of Ring of Honor inductees and to view each Hall of Fame kiosk. Receiver Chad Beebe walked through with Cousins and placed his own hand in the handprint of Carter.

"Wow," Beebe marveled at the size before adding with a chuckle, "It's no wonder he made so many great catches."

After most of his teammates had departed, Laquon Treadwell spent time carefully reading the entire story of the 1998 Vikings. He snapped photos of Randy Moss' game-worn cleats and jersey and looked at the "Three Deep" poster picturing Carter, Moss and Jake Reed.

"Hopefully we can re-write history and actually have a better outcome at the end," Treadwell said of Minnesota's loss to Atlanta in the NFC Championship Game that season. "It's a great challenge for us, and I just see it as something we can re-create as a team, as an organization. I'm just going to strive for that every day in practice – that perfection and that will to want to win."

He referenced former center Jeff Christy, who is quoted with saying, "We felt that we never were going to lose," and explained that the quote struck a chord with him and provided him with a new motto.

"That's a great mindset to have going into every game. … If you always see yourself winning, how can you lose?" Treadwell said. "Just reading that, it shows that with the players we have and if we focus in, if we set our attentions on … going into the game knowing we're going to win, we can have those same results. We have the players to matchup with anyone, so as a collective unit, just come together and work hard."

He emphasized the importance of learning the organization's history and understanding the legacies of those who played before him.

"It's always good to know how you got here, to know what guys sacrificed to allow us to have indoor facilities. You know, they didn't have that back in the day. They didn't get paid as much as we do," Treadwell said. "It gave me a good perspective to just always be grateful and appreciative of the things we can do now and the things that are available to us."

He paused for a moment before continuing.

"It's a lot, you know? It's a lot of emotions in that building, it's a lot of history and a lot of great players," Treadwell said. "All of that can still be possible for us, and we can still build something for the generation after us, the Vikings after us. It just gave me a great perspective on things."

The Vikings know that the Minneapolis Miracle is behind them, but ahead of them is a 2019 season waiting to be written.

"The reality is, in football, it seems like there's history being made every year. Every game," Cousins said. "There are great players who step on the field every week, and history is written. Even if it wasn't a miracle moment like that one, you're making moments that are leading to something special, like a Hall of Fame induction or a special season.

"It's fun to see all the history and to think about the new history that you could write in the coming years," he added.

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