For offensive lineman Tom Compton, signing with the Vikings wasn’t just a reunion with his home state, where he attended Rosemount High School, but it was also a reunion with quarterback Kirk Cousins as both were 2012 draft picks of the Washington Redskins.
Cousins was a fourth-round pick, going No. 102 overall, while Compton was in the sixth round at No. 193.
Compton played out his rookie contract in Washington, appearing in 44 games and starting 11, before going to Atlanta in 2016 and Chicago last year.
He was on the field when the Falcons blew their 28-3 lead over the Patriots in the 2017 Super Bowl. “That was definitely one of the tougher experiences of my football career,” he said. “But it’s definitely an experience I will never forget.”
He remembers his time in Washington with Cousins fondly. The team went 10-11 in games Cousins started with Compton on the roster, and the Redskins reached the postseason twice.
“We had a great time there,” Compton recalled. “Kirk was definitely ready to play, he studied real hard and always attacked it like he was going to be the starter. I respected that. He was always focused on being the guy.”
Cousins wasn’t the guy at the start, being the backup to 2012 No. 2 overall pick Robert Griffin III, who started 35 games over three seasons before Cousins took over.
So has Cousins changed now that he’s in Minnesota?
“He is the same guy.” Compton said. “He comes in with the same mind-set every day. He’s out here competing, the same guy.
“We are still good friends. Obviously we work together and we’re talking a lot more, but the friendship is always there.”
Dream to reality
Compton attended South Dakota out of Rosemount, where he grew up a Vikings fan. He was the first South Dakota draft pick in 12 years when the Redskins selected him.
He said he didn’t see the NFL in his future early in his college years.
And what about the idea of playing for the Vikings?
“That was a dream,” Compton said. “I never thought it would come true.”
After starting his career on the practice squad, which Compton said had to happen for him to get used to the speed of the NFL, he has settled in as a versatile offensive lineman.
“Everything is a lot quicker,” he said. “I think it has been going well. Trying to get better at it every day.”
Compton will start at left guard for the second straight game Saturday against Jacksonville. He was asked what he learned from the Denver game last week.
“The tape was pretty positive,” he said. “We did some good things running the ball, protecting. Obviously there’s a lot we can clean up and get better for this week with Jacksonville.”
Will he feel any added pressure playing his first game at home for his hometown team?
“There is all kinds of pressure you get, whether you’re at the hometown or another team,” he said. “You want to do the best you can, and I know that I have my family supporting me, so that helps out.”
Grant, grand marshal
Former Vikings head coach Bud Grant will be the grand marshal at a parade for the Minnesota American Legion’s 100th national convention Aug. 26 in Minneapolis, and he will be a featured speaker at the Legion’s banquet Aug. 28.
Grant, who turned 91 in May, enlisted in the Navy during World War II and played football at the Great Lakes naval training center along with Billy Bye and Dean Widseth before they all joined the University of Minnesota in 1946.
There’s no question Grant’s athletic history was a big part of the decision but even more so was his service in the Navy. He said he was very glad to get the opportunity.
• Pro Football Focus named Vikings safety and seventh-round pick Jack Tocho one of its players of the week after he recorded an interception, three pass deflections and four tackles against the Broncos. “I made some mistakes throughout the game but also made a lot of plays too,” Tocho said. “There are lessons learned and things I can take away from the game that I can continue to implement in my game. I was just blessed to be able to perform the way I did and go out and make those plays.”
• The Vikings have a unique player in Johnny Stanton, who was a quarterback at UNLV and threw for a total of 1,400 yards in 2016 and 2017 but is working to become a fullback at the pro level. “The Vikings were the only ones to offer me the minicamp invite, so I’m very grateful to the Vikings for that. They are the only team to see something in me,” Stanton said. “I got a couple calls beforehand, but the Vikings were the only ones to follow through.”
• Apple Valley standout Tre Jones is not taking part in Duke’s exhibition tour of Canada because of a hip injury.
• Former Gophers QB MarQueis Gray has quietly carved out a role as an NFL tight end and is entering his seventh season and third season with the Dolphins. Their tight ends coach, Shane Day, praised Gray in the Sun-Sentinel, “His versatility lets us kind of move the other guys around, and it’s very valuable,” Day said. “I can’t tell you how valuable it is. It’s crucial.” ... Gray’s former coach Tim Brewster is now tight ends coach at Texas A&M. Details on his three-year contract were released recently; he’ll make $475,000 per year.
• Former Wolves forward Shabazz Muhammad is close to a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks that will basically be a training camp invitation.
• It was good to see Brian Dozier back on the field for the Dodgers on Wednesday after he was pulled earlier this week because of an irregular heartbeat. Dozier hit the game-winning sacrifice fly in a 4-3 win over San Francisco. He’s hitting .255 with four doubles, three homers, 12 RBI and five runs scored in 14 games since being traded by the Twins. ... Lance Lynn is 1-0 with a 0.54 ERA over 16⅔ innings in three starts with the Yankees.
• Alex Kirilloff, the Twins’ first-round pick from 2016 who sat out last season after Tommy John surgery, is having an incredible year. He hit .333 at Cedar Rapids before being advanced to Fort Myers. For the Miracle he is hitting .378 over 48 games with 21 doubles, 37 RBI and 31 runs scored. Most important, he is 2.4 years younger than the average player in the Florida State League.