MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Vikings will reintroduce joint practices next month in Cincinnati, when they spend two days working out against the Bengals before their preseason opener on Aug. 12. It’s difficult to imagine anything in those practices being as entertaining as what former Vikings receiver Nate Burleson recently recalled.
Brock Lesnar was in Vikings camp in 2004, nearly making the team’s roster as a defensive end after spending time in the WWE. And Lesnar, who returned to UFC over the weekend, provided Burleson with an indelible memory.
“Somebody cheap-shotted Daunte Culpepper late,” Burleson said on NFL Network, recalling a joint practice with the Kansas City Chiefs. “And Brock was like, ‘Who did it?’ The next play, he went and suplexed the guy. He picked up a grown man after the play. It was a Royal Rumble: Minnesota versus Kansas City. … That was a nasty suplex on the football field.”
In the old “Cheese League,” when the Chiefs, Chicago Bears, New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars all used to train in Wisconsin, along with the Packers in Green Bay and the Vikings in Mankato, Minnesota, joint practices were much more feasible than they are now. They often come with plenty of extracurricular activity between teams, which is why Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he likely wouldn’t have been in favor of joint practices with a team other than the Bengals, whom he knows from his six years as the team’s defensive coordinator.
But while coaches might worry about fights between opposing teams in joint practices, a character like Lesnar could certainly make them entertaining.