Vikings strength and conditioning coach Mark Uyeyama surveyed his spacious weight room, the stairs leading up to all the cardio equipment and the three man-made training hills sitting just outside the giant, glass-paneled garage doors that open onto the four outdoor practice fields at TCO Performance Center.
“I call it our ‘souped-up playground,’ ” Uyeyama said. “We made Winter Park work. But if you saw Winter Park, it’s pretty obvious this is a major upgrade in every facet. It’s the best in the business.”
The size and layout offer Uyeyama maximum efficiency as he trains 90 players through training camp and 53 in season.
“And, honestly, it seems like a small thing, but having natural lighting in there is great for working out,” safety Harrison Smith said. “You don’t think about something that small, but I like that they did.”
The thing Kirk Cousins said he likes most about the building is the dedication to nutrition and how it works with strength and conditioning.
“In Washington, I used to have to pack everything myself and take it with me every day,” Cousins said. “And I’d stress out knowing what to eat and when to eat. Here, that’s all taken care of for us by the Vikings.”
Team nutritionist Rasa Troup works with chef Geji McKinney-Banks on meals. Nutritional snack carts are available to players as they leave the practice field and weight room. And then there’s the fuel bar that Cousins likes so much.
It’s three times larger than any other fuel bar Gatorade has built. And it’s user-friendly with portions for several different kinds of smoothies already individually packaged by Rosie Grant, Bud’s granddaughter, who stocks the fuel bar as an employee of Flik Food Services.
“There’s everything to like in the ability to function day to day,” Uyeyama said. “It’s really how it should be.”