STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
MARBLE FALLS — Minnesota tight end David Morgan took advantage of the NFL team’s bye week to say hello to his hometown of Marble Falls.
Morgan, a 2011 Marble Falls High School graduate, is in his second year with the NFC North-leading Vikings, who are 6-2 and two games ahead of the Green Bay Packers and the Detroit Lions. The Chicago Bears sit at the bottom of the division.
The Vikings, who were off Nov. 5, find themselves in familiar territory. Last year, they were undefeated in the first five games of the season before their bye then suffered through a four-game losing streak, missing the playoffs with an 8-8 overall record.
This time, Morgan said, he and his teammates’ mentality is that they haven’t accomplished anything yet.
“What we learned a little bit last year is we can’t take the bye literally,” he said. “We’ve only played half the season. We have to come back and put a second half together. We have to bring it every week.”
The 6-foot-4-inch and 265-pound Morgan, who graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio, has been bringing it, enough to garner some minutes on the field. He played during Minnesota’s 33-16 win against the Cleveland Browns in London on Oct. 29. He was targeted three times and caught each pass for a total of 28 yards.
“Numbers-wise, I think that was my most,” he said. “That kind of goes with how the game goes. We ran the ball a little more than normal. We were getting our running game going.”
Morgan’s blocking ability was one reason he was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round in 2016. What surprised Minnesota brass though was Morgan’s sure hands when catching the ball. At UTSA, he was used primarily as a blocker except on third downs, when the Roadrunners needed to move the chains with a passing play.
In London, coaches gave players a couple of days to experience the city. Morgan said he enjoyed his time overseas.
“It was awesome,” he said with a grin. “We got a couple of days to go into the city and site-see.”
The game at Twickenham Stadium drew 74,000 people. Morgan said one big difference between British and American fans is the Brits wear the jerseys of their favorite players, even if their team isn’t playing.
“There’s every different jersey in the NFL you can imagine,” he said. “There’s Broncos, Green Bay, the Giants. Everyone loves the game of football. There was constant noise and constant chants.”
The final eight games of the regular season don’t get easier with five on the road, including at Washington on Nov. 12. After playing the L.A. Rams at home Nov. 19, the Vikings will have three consecutive away games beginning Nov. 23 at Detroit, Dec. 3 at Atlanta, and Dec. 10 at Carolina. They finish the season at home Dec. 17 against Cincinnati, on the road Dec. 23 at Green Bay, and home again Dec. 31 versus Chicago.
“Every game is going to be tough in the NFL,” Morgan said. “In the NFC North, it’s a close race. We take no one lightly. We’ll go out every week no matter what and work. It’s been a fun year.”