In the summertime of 2004, the Minnesota Vikings have been about to embark on a novel season. From Daunte Culpepper‘s MVP marketing campaign to Randy Moss‘ moon at Lambeau Area, there have been loads of loopy moments. However there may be one chapter that’s usually advised but by no means dated.
Carrying the No. 69 jersey, Brock Lesnar strolled onto the sphere to dwell out his childhood dream. He was coming off one of the spectacular two-year stints within the historical past of World Wrestling Leisure, however the Webster, S.D. native was trying to play within the NFL. Regardless of not enjoying soccer since highschool, Lesnar had loads of provides to check out however in the end stayed in Minnesota.
That call drastically impacted Vikings’ folklore, whilst Lesnar didn’t make the workforce. For followers, it wasn’t about whether or not Lesnar turned an NFL celebrity however why he was on that discipline within the first place.
To know, it’s important to know the place Lesnar got here from. After successful an NCAA Heavyweight Championship on the College of Minnesota, Lesnar signed with WWE and rapidly made his approach by Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW). After capturing the promotion’s championship, he made his debut on the principle roster in April 2002 and rapidly cemented himself as one of many largest names within the enterprise.
Two months after his debut, Lesnar gained the King of the Ring event, reserved for a number of the brightest stars in wrestling. Lesnar then defeated The Rock at SummerSlam to turn into the youngest WWE Champion in historical past.
Lesnar went on to have memorable feuds with the likes of Kurt Angle and The Undertaker. He gained the Royal Rumble match, which allowed him to essential occasion WrestleMania XIX. After successful the championship at that present, Lesnar superplexed the 500-lb. Large Present, causing the ring to implode on nationwide tv.
He turned a three-time WWE Champion and dropped the title to Eddie Guerrero in one of the well-known matches in WWE historical past. Simply 23 months into his profession, Lesnar was changing into a legend — and he hated it.
Though skilled wrestling will get a status for being faux, the bodily toll it takes on its performers is actual. The bumps on the mat add up, as does a schedule that has wrestlers performing almost 300 instances a yr. With stops everywhere in the world, Lesnar received burned out and set his eyes on the NFL.
That meant strolling away from a 7-year, $45 million contract — large within the days earlier than the WWE Community and quarterly stadium reveals. However Lesnar was dedicated and left the corporate after WrestleMania XX.
Lesnar’s first probability to make an impression was on the NFL Scouting Mix. With a 4.7-second 40-yard sprint, 35” vertical leap, and 30 reps on the bench press, Lesnar was a venture that had line of defense coaches drooling. However then got here the primary impediment of his profession.
Shortly earlier than the draft, Lesnar was involved in a motorcycle accident. The crash left him with a damaged jaw, a damaged left hand, a bruised pelvis, and a severely pulled groin. However he no-sold the accidents and was recovered in time for coaching camp.
Like most undrafted rookies, Lesnar’s profession began as a particular groups experiment. The wedge was a preferred kickoff tactic the place the receiving workforce’s blockers would hyperlink arms and type a wall for the returner. To counter, the kicking workforce would ship the largest participant they’d within the center to try to break up the wedge.
The wedge had various results when utilizing a defensive sort out from Saginaw State. When utilizing a three-time WWE champion, it had a really totally different final result.
Lesnar plowed by the road and, regardless of wanting dizzy, had performed his job. He received into a number of preseason video games with the Vikings, however none of these had the impression he had throughout a scrimmage with the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs.
In response to Nate Burleson, Lesnar turned enraged after a Chiefs participant shoved Daunte Culpepper within the again. After Culpepper knowledgeable Lesnar who did it, he went over to the offender and delivered a German Suplex that sparked a full-blown brawl.
“[It was a] totally different sort of nasty, however he picked up a grown man, and after the play, it was Royal Rumble,” Burleson mentioned in a phase for CBS Sports activities. “Minnesota and Kansas Metropolis in Mankato throughout coaching camp. That was a nasty suplex on the soccer discipline.”
Finally, Lesnar didn’t make the workforce. The Vikings supplied Lesnar an opportunity to play in NFL Europe, however he declined, and the choice turned out properly.
Lesnar went to New Japan Professional Wrestling and captured the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship. After dropping the belt, he went to UFC, the place he gained the World Heavyweight Championship earlier than a bout with diverticulitis threatened his life. Lesnar in the end returned to WWE in 2012 and have become a 10-time world champion. Nonetheless, it’s attention-grabbing to suppose what would have occurred if he made the 2004 Vikings.
Lesnar was by no means going to be John Randle, however he may have a minimum of performed a job. Kevin Williams was properly on his method to a Corridor of Fame profession with 11.5 sacks, however Chris Hovan was enjoying out a disappointing tenure as a first-round choose. With all the opposite actions happening, including Lesnar to the combination would have made that workforce completely insane.
As enjoyable as it might be to have seen Brett Favre get despatched to Suplex Metropolis, it stays a pipe dream (and one hell of a narrative) for Vikings followers.
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