Editor’s Note: Vikings’ second-year defensive lineman D’Aundre Reed will share the ups and downs of being in the NFL — from working toward more playing time, to just getting used to Minnesota — for this season-long project. Entry No. 1
I got a wee bit nervous.
All 261 pounds of Vikings’ second-year defensive end/tackle D’Aundre Reed was not happy with my seemingly harmless inquiry – “How does it feel for you guys to be the surprise of the league at 3-1?”
His stone-faced reaction – the previously toothy grin vanishing – was unnerving.
“Not a surprise,” he retorted. “Our expectations are really high. Even right now we’re still ready to go. We still have a lot more to go. It’s only the first quarter of the year.”
However, lucky for me, that was the only question Reed didn’t smile about.
Here are the highlights as Reed keeps hustling to see more playing time on Sundays.
Everyone’s talking about ESPN’s 30 for 30 documentary “Broke”, where former pro athletes talk about just how quickly they lose their millions. Did it make you think twice about how you spend your money?
The movie reconfirmed me to be smart with my money. For the most part, my financial adviser helps out and gives me pointers.
Just thinking about it logically, I’m just trying to set up my future, and my future family as well. I don’t want to be struggling and stressed out down the road.
How tough was it being sidelined with a calf injury for the San Francisco game with your parents having flown out to see you play?
I was really disappointed, but I have my health now. Thankfully we did win, and that helped out a lot.
How was the team’s mentality going into the San Francisco game?
I wasn’t even paying attention to what everyone was saying. But watching us practice, and how focused we are in our meetings; we knew that on any given Sunday any team can be anyone.
How do you think you did in the win against the Lions?
I got five plays in toward the end, got a bit of pressure. I didn’t get a sack, so I will just keep working hard. Haven’t played defensive end yet; I’ve been playing inside – d-tackle. It’s an opportunity and I enjoy it. Anyway I can get in, I’ll take it. I love playing.
What’s the No. 1 reason the team is 3-1?
Going back to OTAs (organized team activities), it’s because of how focused we are. It’s just a different attitude from last year. We were laid-back last year. We were pretty good and started out fast, but couldn’t finish. This year, we understand we have to finish games.
What was the highlight of traveling to Detroit?
In Detroit, my dad’s side of the family is there, so we got to hang out with a bunch of guys and get dinner together. All in all, there were 11 people who ended up coming to the game.
Who do you room with on the road?
Christian Ballard. We have been roommates since last year.
How have you been enjoying Victory Mondays?
Actually, still haven’t had a Victory Monday yet. From my understanding, it’s too early in the season — we have only won three games.
What’s been the best part of the 2012 season so far?
When you win everyone is happy. Everyone is just working together and we want to win and we’re getting paid to win. We’re hungry. We’re hitting hard, playing physical and getting the job done.