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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Nearly 120 games in, Vikings’ Jason Trusnik finally reaches the playoffs

By Andrew Krammer

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Five teams, nine years and nearly 120 games later, veteran linebacker Jason Trusnik is finally in the playoffs.

Continuing his career wasn’t a certainty this fall for Trusnik, who was released by the Carolina Panthers in September, just months into a one-year deal.

The whirlwind continued as he worked out in Charlotte, N.C., biding his time for another opportunity. That didn’t come until two months later, when the Vikings lost linebacker Audie Cole to a fractured ankle in early November and needed a special teams ace like Trusnik. So just days after he and his wife welcomed their third child, a baby girl, into the world, he signed with the Vikings.

“For the first time in my career, I was in that spot,” Trusnik said of not playing during the NFL season. “I stayed ready. Because you never know when you’re going to get picked up…I wanted to prove to whatever team it was, now that it’s here, that I was in shape and ready to perform.”

He’s appeared in all eight games since joining Minnesota. And on Sunday, for the first time in his career, Trusnik will play in the postseason.

“Personally, it’s what you work for,” Trusnik said. “You play this game, at the end of the day, to win that Lombardi Trophy. To get to the playoffs for my team and myself, it’s exciting.”

Trusnik, 31, has long made his hay deep in the gears of the modern football machine. He didn’t receive any Division-I or Division-II offers out of Nordonia High School in Macedonia, Ohio.

Instead he joined a Division-III football program in Ohio Northern, before going undrafted in 2007. Trusnik latched on with the New York Jets for 2 and 1/2 seasons, leaving only when he was packaged in a trade with receiver Chansi Stuckey and a couple draft picks for Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards during the 2009 season.

Trusnik has stuck wherever he’s gone, making a career-high 10 starts at linebacker for the Browns in 2009. He’s made 25 career starts on defense, sticking mostly as a special teams ace. He appeared in all 64 games over four seasons with the Miami Dolphins, including two years under current Vikings defensive coordinator George Edwards. Edwards was the Dolphins linebackers coach in 2012 and 2013.

He’ll have his mother, father and two brothers in the stands of TCF Bank Stadium on Sunday. As well as a full viewing party in Charlotte between his wife and three children, including a five-year-old son, two-year-old girl and newborn.

“They’ll be staying warm, that’s for sure,” Trusnik said. “I got a whole rooting team.”

Trusnik: Personally, it’s what you work for. You play this game, at the end of the day, to win that Lombardi Trophy. To get to the playoffs for my team and myself, it’s exciting.

Just being released from Carolina and now being here. It’s a great opportunity. Coming into a good spot. Coach Zimmer, great coaches, he has a great environment around here. Great locker room guys. You can tell that’s why, I mean guys play well, but the closeness and the way these guys play, I’m happy to be apart of it.

Being the first time in my career that I had to be in that spot. But personally, it’s staying ready. Because you never know when your’e going to get picked up. I knew it’d be a possibility I could get picked up. I wanted to prove to whatever team it was, now that it’s here, that I was in shape and ready to perform.

Still focused. I wasn’t ready. More waiting for the opportunity still and staying ready .

At the end of teh day, when that first snap goes, but as soon as that ball is snapped, you still have to go out and do your job. Do your job whatever it is. That’s how we’re going to win.

I got some of my family coming in for teh game this weekend. Two brothers, my mom and my dad. I’m sure my family and kids will be rooting from home. Staying in the warm, that’s for sure. Charlotte. Really Ohio is home. Three kids. 5-year-old boy, 2.5-year-old girl and a 13-week-old girl. I got a whole rooting team.

The post Nearly 120 games in, Vikings’ Jason Trusnik finally reaches the playoffs appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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