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Interview with Brandon Zylstra

 Zac Brown / August 22nd, 2019 Photo: Brandon Zylstra/Twitter Account

Recently I had the privilege of having a conversation with Vikings WR Brandon Zylstra and we talked about numerous subjects including OTAs, how he has been impacted by his teammates and his expectation for the 2019 season.

I started the conversation by asking how the offseason training programs were going to which he expressed a great deal of optimism. Zylstra explained how he has enjoyed getting back to the grind of playing along with his excitement of the new offensive scheme. This past offseason the Vikings made former quarterback coach Kevin Stefanski the full-time offensive coordinator after liking what they saw from him in that role that last quarter of the season. 

While not receiving alot offensive reps last year, one area Zylstra did get a lot of playing time was special teams including brief action as a punt returner. I asked Brandon if being a punt returner is something he would be interested in full-time this season to which he replied “ I’m 100 percent a team player, I’m cool with wherever they want to put me, wherever is going to help the team succeed.’’ The Vikings have the need for a primary punt returner after long time returner and Minnesota native Marcus Sherels left via free agency to sign with the New Orleans Saints.

Another topic we talked about was his NFL journey and how it compares to that of fellow wide receiver and all pro Adam Thielen. Thielen and Zylstra have similar journeys that both include being from small Minnesota towns, not receiving any Division 1 college scholarships, playing college football locally and having to try out for the Vikings before receiving a contract offer. Zylstra acknowledged the comparisons and noted that he does receive a lot of questions about Thielen and also mentioned how their games are similar and that he tries to learn as much from Adam’s game as he possibly can.

The last thing Zylstra and I talked about was what his expectations were for the 2019 season. It can be a conflicted questions because some players only goal and expectation is winning a championship and other players may have personal statistic goals they desire and expect to accomplish. For Zylstra, he explained that his goal is to become the number three receiver on the roster behind Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs, while also expressing his desire to do what he can to help his team win.

Being able to have an opportunity to talk to Brandon Zylstra gave me an in depth look into the journey of becoming an NFL player. Since becoming a Viking he has done nothing but shown up everyday and worked hard to show what he is capable of. I personally am excited to see him play this year and I wish him all the best.