EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Elijah Lee can finally answer, "Yes," to the question he's most frequently received since Saturday when the Vikings tabbed the linebacker with a seventh-round pick.
Ever since Lee had his name announced as the 232nd overall selection, Lee said people have asked if it's set in.
"I'd always tell them, 'No, not until I get there.' Now I'm here and I'm excited," Lee said Thursday as he and Vikings draft picks arrived at the team's Winter Park headquarters for rookie minicamp.
Lee is one of 11 selections made the by the Vikings during the 2017 NFL Draft.
The draft class, along with more than a dozen undrafted free agents that agreed to terms with the Vikings, will participate in meetings and practices on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
After wearing purple in high school in Missouri and in college for Kansas State, Lee said he looks forward to soon connecting with fellow K-State alums Terence Newman and Emmanuel Lamur.
"I think one of the equipment guys said it's nice to have three generations of Wildcats on a team," Lee said. "That doesn't happen too often. It's going to be nice because I can look up to them and ask them questions."
First, however, he will bond with rookies, a process that started Thursday when players arrived from their hometowns or cities where they trained for the combine.
All are excited to put on pads and get back to football, even if it is only May.
It wasn't, after all, that long ago that these players participated in spring practices and scrimmages on their college campuses. Once they declared for the draft, however, their focus shifted to preparing for combine and pro day workouts, trying as hard as they could to set themselves apart from the crowd.
"This is everyone's dream to make it to this level, to this stage. It's a blessing that I'm here. I'm thankful, and I just can't wait to get started," said Rodney Adams, a receiver out of South Florida. "It's going to be great to interact with everybody, especially the coaches and my new teammates. It's nice to get back to playing football."
Now the primary goal is to function together and help the Vikings collectively improve for 2017.
Former Big Ten competitors Ben Gedeon and Jaleel Johnson became comrades who will push each other.
"It's pretty cool," said Gedeon, a former Michigan linebacker. "I walked in with Jaleel, and it's a dream come true. Seeing the logo, it kind of seems real now."
Johnson, the former Iowa defensive tackle, said, "It's always exciting to go out and compete with new guys that you'll be playing with the next few years. We'll have fun, but it's all about competing."
For Vikings rookies Stacey Coley and Danny Isidora, this weekend is a continuation of their journey that began as teammates at the University of Miami.
"I feel like we're going to do great things here. I'm just ready to get to work," Coley said. "Danny's going to work hard. We're going to push each other. That's what 'The U' instilled in us, and we're going to bring it to Minnesota."
Former Ohio State center Pat Elflein, whom the Vikings drafted in the third round after trading up to the 70th spot, had a little bit of a head start on the orientation to Winter Park. He was one of the players who visited the Vikings during the team's "Top 30" last month.
"It's a little bit different feel, coming in as a pro and seeing a new facility, but I can already tell from my visit and from meeting everybody so far that it feels like a family," Elflein said. "I'm excited to put on a Vikings helmet and get to work."
— Vikings.com's Chris Corso contributed to this report.