Ex-Vikings guard Mike Harris takes over as Hamline’s offensive line coach
He started all 16 games at right guard for Minnesota in 2015 before he was diagnosed in 2016 with a congenital brain condition, which ended his career
Former Vikings guard Mike Harris has a new job, and he’s setting his goals high.
Harris said Wednesday he has accepted a position as offensive line coach and assistant recruiting coordinator at Division III Hamline. He previously was offensive line coach at Division III Macalester but said his new job carries more responsibilities.
“I’m just ready for this bigger leadership role,’’ said Harris, who attended a Vikings’ practice Wednesday during organized team activities. “I’m going to take advantage of it. I’m going to coach the heck out of those guys and try to be the best offensive line coach in the (Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference). I feel like I can (recruit) some (offensive linemen) that can move some people.’’
Harris, 33, played in the NFL from 2012-15, including 2014-15 with the Vikings. He started all 16 games at right guard for Minnesota in 2015 before he was diagnosed in 2016 with a congenital brain condition, which ended his career.
Harris will continue to work as an NFL uniform inspector at Vikings’ home games. He hopes to continue to move up the ranks in coaching, saying “the end goal is the NFL, Division I.’’ For now, he’s excited about joining the Pipers.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity,’’ Harris said. “I’ve been really impressed with Chip Taylor, the head coach over there, and just the culture they have.”
REED READY TO COMPETE
Chris Reed is eager to battle to be the Vikings’ starting right guard, but said it’s a bit early to call it a competition.
Reed, who played at Minnesota State Mankato, has been splitting first-team reps with Jesse Davis during offseason drills. Rookie Ed Ingram also could be a candidate to start.
“It’s not really competition right now,’’ Reed said of spring drills, which conclude next week with a mandatory minicamp. “No one wins the job right now. So it’s just about learning the offense and learning your teammates and that kind of stuff. Training camp is when (the competition) starts.’’
Reed, entering his seventh NFL season, plays all three interior line positions. He said he could be a candidate to also be the backup center behind Garrett Bradbury.
“I’ll definitely play wherever they need me to play,’’ Reed said.
As for last season’s primary starter at right guard, Oli Udoh has been working this spring as a reserve tackle.
EX-PLAYERS WATCH PRACTICE
The Vikings invited 18 former players to watch practice. The group included five members of the Ring of Honor in guard Randall McDaniel and safety Paul Krause, who are both also in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, running back Chuck Foreman, safety Joey Browner and linebacker Scott Studwell.
“It’s awesome,’’ first-year head coach Kevin O’Connell said of the guests. “We’ve got a special, special history in this organization. … We’re going to ask them to come and just be around our football team.”
That’s fine with Dave Osborn, a Vikings running back from 1965-75.
“They want to get the old people a little more involved,’’ he said.
–Running back Alexander Mattison is thrilled to have switched from 25 to 2, the number he wore from when he first played football at age 6 through his freshman year at San Bernardino (Calif.) High School. He then earned the nickname “Deuce.” “It feels good to go back to my roots, so it’s awesome,’’ he said.
–Second-year quarterback Kellen Mond said it’s been invaluable learning under starter Kirk Cousins, entering his 11th season, and backup Sean Mannion, entering his eighth. “They’ve been great for me,” Mond said. “Both guys are really knowledgeable, have been in the league for awhile and kind of know the ins and outs.”
–Linebacker Za’Darius Smith did not take part in Wednesday’s practice. “Just kind of a precautionary thing with him,” O’Connell said. “He should be back ready on Friday.’’ That will be the final practice of organized team activities.
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