Some Scorched Earth Hits Vikings Community as Longtime Trainer Exits

Some Scorched Earth Hits Vikings Community as Longtime Trainer Exits
Ifeadi Odenigbo

In recent weeks, new Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell filled out his coaching staff, but the leadership overhaul wasn’t quite complete.

The Vikings severed ties with longtime trainer Eric Sugarman on Monday, a surprise move as Sugarman was not a part of the initial wave of “cleaning house” by Vikings management.

Sugarman was employed by the Vikings since 2006.

Sugarman departed with these thoughts:

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And so it went — the Vikings finished the staff overhaul under new general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and the aforementioned O’Connell.

But then, in a strange twist, former Vikings players used social media to opine critical thoughts about Sugarman’s tenure in Minnesota. Primarily, ex-Vikings defensive end Ifeadi Odenigbo led the charge, tweeting-then-deleting these comments about Sugarman:

Soon after, Odenigbo’s Twitter account disappeared for a few hours, heightening the oddity of the sequence. While the tweet above remained deleted, this post was not scrubbed:

Odenigbo, who now plays for the Cleveland Browns, was joined by former teammates chiming in on the topic, albeit in a less emphatic matter. Jaleel Johnson, now a member of the Houston Texans, tweeted-then-deleted the “eyes emoji” in response to Odengibo’s tweet above.

And ex-Vikings wide receiver Jeff Badet retweeted this:

So, there’s something fishy pertaining to Sugarman’s relationships with some players.

Before Monday, Sugarman had a rather sterling reputation among fans, serving as president of the “Donut Club,” a fun engagement with players involving donuts.

On the other hand, notable examples of players returning prematurely from injury exist, too. In 2017, quarterback Sam Bradford played against the Chicago Bears when it was wildly apparent the man was in rough shape. He looked like someone’s grandma. More recently, in 2021, Adam Thielen was cleared to return to the field and was injured immediately after.

It is unclear why the Vikings and Sugarman cut ties.

The Sugarman exodus occurs in a week when other moves will transpire as the Vikings trim down their budget. Minnesota is $15 million over the cap, needing to clear space before March 16 for cap compliance.

“Legal tampering” in free agency begins on March 14th.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. His YouTube Channel, VikesNow, debuts in March 2022. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

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