General News

Minnesota Vikings Losing Fat, Gaining Muscle

The Minnesota Vikings are working to be a more fit, more agile, and more productive team.  According to an ESPN article, the Vikings have collectively shed 170 pounds of body fat and gained 70 pounds of muscle.

Earlier this spring, buzz surrounded rookie defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd as he worked to build a healthier lifestyle. Floyd is preparing to compete for the starting nose tackle job previously held by Kevin Williams. You can view a video highlighting his efforts here.

Floyd isn’t the only member of the franchise making changes, however. One of the first things Coach Mike Zimmer did when joining Minnesota was take high-fat items out of the Vikings’ menu. “I’m eating fish every day for lunch,” said Zimmer. “That’s a new thing for me.”

In addition to diet changes, the team has also changed its offseason weight-lifting program. The new regiment is helping players trim the fat while building muscle.

Zimmer acknowledges that the extra adjustments have been a “collective effort” by the team, and it seems like everyone is on board. Thus far, Floyd is showing the most significant results. Since starting his personal lifestyle changes and also taking part with Zimmer’s program tweaks, the tackle has lost 25 pounds from where he was at the end of the 2013-14 season.

Floyd said the following:

“I changed a lot of things this offseason. I stopped eating meat. I started eating just seafood and really focusing on my diet, and everything leads into what I do on Sunday. [Giving up meat was] really hard. I lived off pork. I thought pork made the world go around. […] That was just me [making the decision]. Do I want to keep putting this stuff in my body or do I want to get right? So I decided to give up things that I love that are not really good for me right now. My body feels great. I’ve been telling people my body hasn’t felt this way since I first started playing football.”

With the roster working together to follow Floyd’s example, Vikings fan can be assured that these guys will be ready to go come September 7.

Show More

Lindsey Young

Lindsey Young (Featured Columnist) is a graduate of University of Northwestern – St. Paul and is an avid Minnesota sports fan[atic]. It’s been argued females don’t know much about sports, but she begs to differ. Her work has been featured on Bleacher Report,, and Fox Sports North. In addition to her work with VT, Lindsey is a contributing writer for Canis Hoopus, runs a bi-monthly fan feature for and is a freelance writer for You can read her blog at Making the Call and follow her on Twitter.

Related Articles


  1. I think you made a mistake saying that he will compete for the starting nose tackle spot.
    Linvah Joseph was hiring to anchor that spot, Floyd will be asked to be a 3-technique DT, like williams was for nearly his entire stay with the vikings (played some snaps at nose too, but was rarely)

    1. Hi Malte, thank you for the read and your comment! Respectfully, it was not a mistake to say he will be competing for that position. Joseph was brought in as a hopeful replacement, but Floyd is also in the running. The sources cited in this article confirm that. It will definitely be interesting to see who ends up starting when the season kicks off 🙂

    2. Malte-
      Floyd was drafted to replace K Williams at the under tackle spot. Joseph will most likely win the NT job.
      There will be some competition and rotation for sure, but according to most depth charts, I think your comment is correct… Joseph NT, Floyd DT

      I think Brian Murphy mis labeled Floyd and K Williams as a nose tackles in his article.

  2. Hi Malte, thank you for the read and your comment! Respectfully, it was not a mistake to say he will be competing for that position. Joseph was brought in as a hopeful replacement, but Floyd is also in the running. The sources cited in this article confirm that. It will definitely be interesting to see who ends up starting when the season kicks off 🙂

  3. I have been a Vikings fan since the late 60’s when I was a young boy and someone gave me the book “The Purple People Eaters” to read. Despite having never lived in Minnesota I have been all about the purple ever since. I felt compelled to comment on this article from my 30 years as a chiropractor, and a fitness and nutrition geek. I am glad the Vikes are looking to be stronger and fitter, and if they have indeed shed 170 lbs. of fat and gained 70 lbs/ of muscle I am certainly all for that. However, it makes me wonder who is advising them on the nutrition and diet front when I read two of the statements made in this article. The one being that they are eating less fat. Eating fat does not make you fatter or gain weight. The failed experiments throughout the 80’s of low fat everything showed us that. The other things is that fat is absolutely essential for health of the nervous system, the brain, for you to make all your hormones and for every cell membrane in the body. The other thing that was mentioned is not eating meat. Eating meat does not make you fat either. I know this is not a nutrition blog and I am not writing this comment to change anyone’s personal diet or ideas about nutrition. I am simply concerned for my favorite football team and the advice they are getting. As I said earlier though, the current results if they are as reported are certainly good… I worry about the long term results and viability of the approach however.

    1. Gary:

      I’m a fitness / nutrition geek as well, and was compelled to make a similar comment. Most notably, it sounds like Sharrif Floyd has some health beliefs related to meat that aren’t necessarily true. Pork is calorie dense, sure, but it’s a bit of a fallacy for him to suggest giving up all meat is the solution to lose weight. Preparation has more to do with calories than meat selection.

      My other thought is that these guys are likely still getting enough fat in their diets. During practice and training, these guys are tearing through glycogen stores and need to replace it. Whether its the best dietary approach is debatable, but its certainly not wrong to emphasize a high carbohydrate diet for these athletes. A high carbohydrate & high fat diet would, most likely, result in players gaining weight.

      If nothing else, it’s very interesting to me that even in a professional setting, myths regarding weight training & diet are still quite prominent.

  4. They said they’re eating fish. If they’re eating the right fish they will be getting really good trans-fats and omega-3s. I find it interesting pesco-vegatarianism has made it to the NFL. Living in Alaska now, I eat way less red meat and a lot of salmon. I notice wonderful effects when eating a responsible diet including AK salmon.

    1. Been dipnetting yet Slide?
      I’m gearing up, almost out of Salmon, got to get me some Copper River Reds!

      By the way, nice article Lindsey.

  5. The fitness geeks need to slow down! The Vikings have Carrie Peterson as their dietician,she works with all the Minnesota pro sports teams.They also have a new strength and conditioning guru and have changed to a free weights program from the previous machine based program.
    The biggest difference seems to be that the strength/diet program is now mandatory because we now have a coach who is prepared to put his foot down and say “this is how we do it,and if you don’t want to buy in,then go some place else” Zim is also leading by example and eating better as well,and things like bacon and pork chops are off the menu to remove temptation.
    The Vikings hired Carrie Peterson after the tragic death of Korey Stringer from heat stroke,so proper nutrition and hydration are high on the agenda.

  6. fTm-
    Went opening w/e but didn’t do that great. My buddy went thur night and limited out. When are you going? We should meet-up and hit it sometime!