Vikings coach Leslie Frazier hopes to have running back Matt Asiata available for Sunday’s game against the Seahawks, but Asiata was thankful on Monday to just be around his second family following a difficult two weeks.
Asiata departed to Utah last Monday to attend the funeral of his father, Pita, who passed away on Oct. 28 in a bus accident. Matt returned to the team on last Wednesday and continued to rehab his shoulder injury during Monday’s walkthrough and said it was a blessing to be back on the field.
”After my dad’s passing, it’s been hard,” Asiata said. “It’s been hard on my family, especially on my mom. I just got to be strong for them and be that son to take over my dad’s spot. I’m trying to be strong. I’m not trying to show my emotions or feelings out here on the field. I’m just trying to stay happy. When I get time to myself that’s when I start getting emotional and stuff. I’ll be good though. Being around the players, I’ll be fine.”
Asiata said he’s struggling mentally, but he feels he can’t for his family’s sake. He said he has to remained focused and be his family’s provider including in time of need. He echoed a saying his father always told him, “Family first.”
“It’s a good thing being around his second family, his teammates and the coaches in this organization,” Fraizer said. “I think that help to kind of ease some of the pain even though it’s very, very difficult.”
Asiata was one of the last players on the field after the walkthrough working with a staff member on catching passes and different blocking techniques against a punching bag as part of his rehab. He said it was the most work he’s done with the injury that has caused Asiata to miss the last three games.
He didn’t feel as gassed on Monday, but Asiata expects to regain his conditioning over time. Frazier said on Monday he’ll see if Asiata can practice on Wednesday following the off day.
Asiata doesn’t want to reinjure the shoulder and has taken precautious with the injury, but his father’s death has pushed him to return to the field.
“Before my dad’s incident, I’ve been pushing but it pushed me a lot more seeing my kids and my wife, especially my mom seeing her down,” Asiata said. “Every son hates to see their mom down like that, so I’m trying to take a big step for my family and be that older guy and be that dad.”