The results are in, and the Vikings are on top.
The NFL Players’ Association on Wednesday released “free agency report cards” for all 32 teams. The report cards reveal results of a player survey on topics ranging from quality of team facilities and programming to treatment of player families.
According to ESPN’s Dan Graziano, the NFLPA “ranked all 32 teams against each other in the hope of providing players with information they might be able to use in free agency when deciding on new teams.”
Minnesota came in first among all 32 teams, followed by Miami and Las Vegas at two and three, respectively.
The Vikings, headquartered at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center, received A-plus grades in strength coaches, training room, training staff and locker room. They tied for first place in all four categories.
They were given As for team travel, weight room and treatment of families, and they received an A-minus in food service/nutrition.
The Minnesota Vikings are ranked as the best team in our guide. [One hundred percent] of the players feel like [Owner/Chairman] Zygi Wilf [and Owner/President Mark Wilf are] willing to spend money to upgrade the facilities, and that assessment makes sense since the Vikings have gone through three significant upgrades in recent years. Their facility was [built in 2018] and is considered state-of-the-art. This past year, they replaced former [Head Coach] Mike Zimmer with Kevin O’Connell, who through his first year is regarded as one of the most player-friendly head coaches. […] The Minnesota Vikings are a shining example of what is possible when a concerted investment is made in both staffing and facilities.The NFLPA
Vikings Head Coach Kevin O’Connell was asked about the results during his media session at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.
He called it a “huge priority” to foster a culture and environment that’s deemed desirable for not only players but also their families.
“One of the things that I look back on a year ago, and I think about using words like connecting with our players and the collaboration that goes into what pro football should be at this level,” O’Connell said. “It goes so much beyond those words, and people kind of chuckle sometimes as you use some of these cliché-like words; well, they’re not cliché when you go to work every day and try to join with a great group of people and a great support staff at every level of our organization. It’s not a cliché when people make that our mission statement, to provide the premier place to go to work and improve both personally and collectively as a team in our league means a lot to us.
“I don’t think you can say all of that without thanking our ownership. Our beautiful facility and both our training facility and [U.S. Bank Stadium] – in my opinion, one of the best home atmospheres in our league – and then it’s the people,” he continued. “We talk a lot about culture. Culture is people, and it’s something we strive to work on every single day, and I think our players feel that.”
O’Connell said he’s “not surprised” by the survey results.
“I’m thankful for our players and their communication with us to help make that happen,” he said. “I like to think we’re only going up from here, so hopefully this is something you’re asking me about at the combine every year moving forward.”