The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

July 26, 2013

Frazier hopes players listen to alum Birk

MANKATO — Matt Birk has a shiny new Super Bowl ring from Baltimore and a long history of playing football with the Minnesota Vikings.

So when he talked with the Vikings' staff and players Thursday night, his message was to "seize this moment."

"He said you need to take advantage of the opportunity to play for the Minnesota Vikings," coach Leslie Frazier said Friday.

Frazier said he's asked Vikings' alums to adress the team before training camp in the past. In 2011, Jim Marshall spoke to the team, and last year, it was Matt Blair.

Center John Sullivan, who spent his rookie year as Birk's backup with the Vikings, said he was impressed by his former mentor's message.

"It means a lot coming from a guy who's had that kind of career," Sullivan said. "Won a Super Bowl, All-Pro ... he's achieved the ultimate goals.

"It's good for the young guys to hear him. It's great to have him back involved with the Vikings' organization."

Greenway on testing

The NFL and the players union are preparing to institute HGH testing around the league, and veteran linebacker Chad Greenway said the plans are still in their infancy. The league is supposed to take some blood samples over the next few weeks to establish a base from which to work.

"We're just kind of feeling our way around with it right now," he said. "The only thing I know for sure is that we will have to give a sample sometime during training camp."

Greenway said the samples are anonymous, and that he'll enter the system as just a number rather than under his name.

"I think they just want to establish the parameters," he said. "They want to see where our levels are at this point."

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