Tyrus Thompson is a 6-5, 330-pound rookie offensive lineman who was picked by the Vikings in the sixth round of this year’s NFL draft out of Oklahoma. He has had an inconsistent training camp, and with roster cuts looming, he chatted last week with the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand:
Q I’m interested in hearing more about your family background. You were born in Germany, and I’ve read that your dad was a paratrooper for the U.S. Army, right?
A Yeah. To me, it was normal. It’s what I was used to. I guess it’s kind of weird to some people.
Q And your mother-in-law was a sniper?
A Yeah, she did some sniper stuff. I don’t know. I really don’t ask people about their military background because for some people it’s pretty rough. … But I know that growing up, I thought it was cool to wear my dad’s medals around in school.
Q Military families sometimes move around a lot. Was that the case for you?
A We moved from Germany before I was 2. … I moved to a couple places. I know I lived in Fort Hood [Texas] for a while, and really those are some of my first memories. I remember my dad coming home one time and I had a flag that I was waving around. You’re around a bunch of other military kids.
Q Did that prepare you for Mike Zimmer’s training camp?
A [laughs] Nah, I’m not going to say that. But it’s definitely a grind. There are things you have to get used to, just like coming from high school to college. You’re really good then, and you get there with other guys who are just as good or better. It’s just an adjustment you have to make, to keep fighting and pushing. I mean, that’s one thing I probably learned from my dad. He used to do these drills with us when we were kids. We’d be climbing on stuff and running, and he’d keep pushing us. I learned that maybe you fail, but you have to keep pushing. Right now, that’s definitely something I’m leaning on.
Q I bet. I mean, you’ve been shuffled around between tackle and guard some, and you’ve struggled in camp. What’s that been like?
A I just keep doing the best I can. Everything hasn’t always been as pretty as I want it to be or as good as I want it to be, that’s for sure. But I try to keep focused and keep trying to grind and do my best to make the team.
Q Roster cuts are coming up. As a rookie, does that make you anxious?
A I’ve always been a person who tries to control what I can control. I’m not going to lie: Are things stressful? Yeah, I have two kids and a wife. It’s definitely stressful. But you can only control what you can control and do your best.
Q Is there more stress on you than on some of these other rookies because you do have a family?
A I mean, there other guys who have kids. I’m not in college any more. But I think everyone feels the heat up on them a little with a few exceptions. T.J. [Clemmings] is in a good spot. Trae [Waynes] being a first-round guy, he’s in a good spot. But again, I’m just trying to control what I can control.