CB Lito Sheppard signed with the Vikings earlier this offseason and has been around Winter Park the last couple of weeks. Although the Vikings are a new team for him, Sheppard has seen plenty of familiar faces around the facility.
Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress and assistant head coach/defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier were both on Andy Reidís staff in Philadelphia when the Eagles drafted Sheppard in the 1st round of the 2002 NFL Draft. Also, both Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Tom Kanavy and Head Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman were on the Eagles staff while Sheppard was in Philadelphia.
Sheppard said the presence of those familiar faces, most notably Frazierís (he was the DBs coach), was a big reason he came to Minnesota.
ďHe actually got me my rookie year in the league (in Philadelphia) and Iíve obviously matured a lot since then,Ē Sheppard explained. ďI definitely have a different mentality and approach to the game today. But itís definitely good that heís familiar with me and my skills and what Iím able to do. That was definitely a big part of me coming here.Ē
But the familiar faces arenít limited to the coaching staff. Sheppard was teammates with Greg Lewis in Philadelphia and he says he wasnít surprised to see Lewis make that dramatic, game-winning catch against the San Francisco 49ers in Week 3 last year.
ďIt didnít come as a surprise to me because Iíve been playing with G-Lew since heís been in the league,Ē Sheppard said. ďThe way he was used in Philly, I mean it wasnít a lot, but when he did get opportunities he made big plays. I think thatís what obviously got him over here and heís not your every down receiver but when heís out there heís going to be productive.Ē
With OTAs beginning this week, Sheppard will get to know even more teammates as he continues to get acclimated in Minnesota and then the teamís mandatory minicamp in June will have him fully immersed as training camp approaches later this summer. For now, though, Sheppard says the locker room feels comfortable and his new teammates make for a great fit.
ďItís a pretty easy, laid back group right now,Ē Sheppard said. ďObviously the whole team isnít here. This is just workouts. Everything changes, the tempo and the intensity picks up a little bit as the season nears. But I think this is a good starting point for everyone to get a sense of me, and vice versa.Ē
More About Lito
Favorite food: I love steak, seafood and pasta. Those are my top 3 and I canít go wrong with any of those.
Last song downloaded: Iím pretty much a rap guy, but lately Iíve liked Usher. So Iíd say something from Usherís new album.
Last movie: Iron Man 2. Iím a big super hero fanatic in terms of action and suspense.
If not football, what would you be doing: Something to do with cars. I love cars and Iíve always wanted to build an engine.
Other sports: Before dedicating myself to football, basketball was my A game in middle school and high school. In 10th grade I had to switch to football because of my size.
NBA Finals pick: Los Angeles Lakers Ė Kobe is the man and his team is great
Hero growing up: Thatís a no brainer Ė my Grandfather. He was strict on us growing up but I appreciate it now. It taught me a lot of disciple and organization. I tip my hat to him.
| Pounds lost: 1.0