MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A big part of the Vikings success this season is a defensive line that’s getting after the quarterback.
Monday night, they’ll have a new target — the Chicago Bears are starting Mitch Trubinsky at quarterback in his first NFL game.
One person hoping to welcome him to the big show is Vikings defensive tackle Linval Joseph.
So what’s the pride of a defensive line?
“Just being together with the same guys for four years, five years, seven years — knowing each other and just coming together,” Joseph said. “It’s a tale of each week. Each week we try to be consistent and try to be on top, but you can’t control the outcome.”
The Vikings defensive line have also scored big contracts in recent weeks — solidifying their place in the team.
“It makes it easier and hard work pays off,” Joseph said. “Everybody on this team works their butt off. It starts up front — O-line D-line — and you just try to be the best we can really be.”
Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson has offered serious praise to Joseph — saying he is, at times, the best at his position. Joseph says that praise hasn’t gone unappreciated, but he’s not getting comfortable.
“It means a lot to me,” Joseph said. “I work really, really hard, and just to get recognition and just getting better every year — that’s the goal.”
Now a massive force at the line of scrimmage, Joseph was once a star athlete in several sports in his home state of Florida, including basketball, track and field, weightlifting and even tennis.
As a native Floridian, the recent storms have hit home.
“My mom, my brother — they both live in Florida, and my dad lives in the Virgin Islands,” he said. “As you know, Puerto Rico, St. Croix, St. Thomas took a pretty bad hit. Everybody’s good for the most part. My dad is here, actually, and I’m glad he’s here. I’m glad his house is OK, but a lot of people died, a lot of people still don’t have power for the next two months, and it’s kind of hard. It’s hard to all take in at one time.”
Joseph knows the stakes on Monday night’s game — both the risk and opportunity.
“It’s everything for a player. You have the whole world looking at you. That’s the day you want to shine and you want to be the best you can for your team and yourself,” he said. “Division games are big — it’s the reason we play this sport, this game. You want to win the division — that’s one step to make it to the Super Bowl.”