Editor’s Note: Vikings’ second-year defensive lineman D’Aundre Reed shares 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 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6
As the season-long ambition of getting to know D’Aundre Reed comes to a close – the Vikings battle the Packers at 7 p.m. Saturday at Lambeau Field – it’s been eye-opening to see how well Reed dealt with the highlights and setbacks that the 2012 campaign as tossed his way.
Yes, he hasn’t dressed for game day for weeks. And that comes after seeing the field at least a handful of times each week to begin the season.
Still, the second-year defensive lineman has yet to allow his positivity fade away.
The freshly-turned 25-year-old caught up with WCCO one last time.
How did you celebrate New Year’s?
With my family and my girlfriend. About 20 of us were in a back room at J.D. Hoyt’s (in downtown Minneapolis).
How cramped was your apartment the first night they arrived?
They came early, so hadn’t yet checked into a hotel — it was a little cramped (laughs). But everyone was cool about it – let my parents sleep in my bed.
What’s it like sharing your birthday with New Year’s?
It’s cool because then it’s a celebration. Everyone celebrates New Year’s. This year I got a watch, a bracelet, and a Bruce Lee poster.
Bruce Lee, really?
I’m a fan of his zero percent body fat. He’s a reminder to never underestimate your competition.
New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t have one. I usually don’t.
How do you stay positive seeing how you’ve seen less of the field as the season progresses?
I’m excited to be in the playoffs, and keep working hard, and hope an opportunity presents itself in the playoffs. Just keeping patient.
How exciting was Sunday’s regular season finale win over the Packers?
It was amazing. We didn’t want to get denied.
Last year, your rookie year, you guys were 3-13. Now you’re 10-6. How do you think that turnaround happened?
Just a different mindset — to close out games. Last year, we’d be winning 20-0 in the first half and then lose. We’ve now been playing with desire.
How was your holiday – did you get to run home?
I actually got to fly down to California and hang out with my family. We barbequed and fried a turkey. I was only there a day-and-a-half, but it didn’t fly by — time well spent.
When the season ends, do you stay in Minnesota? What’s your plan?
I’ll probably stick around and then go back to California, and then Arizona for a little bit, too. I pay rent year-round here, so I’ll be here a lot. Even last year, I was around Minnesota for the most part. Come March, I like to work out here.
You’re halfway through your four-year contract – how do you feel about where your career is going?
I feel like I learned a lot and am still growing — I’m excited for what the future holds. I have a better understanding of the game, as far as the locker room and being a professional athlete.
How was your snowball fight in the Sculpture Garden outside The Walker?
My girlfriend and I took some pictures of it – it was fun. MOA and the Sculpture Garden are on my to-do list every time someone visits.