Vikings tight end MarQueis Gray, going on less than four hours of sleep, arrived at Winter Park on Monday for his first practice with the Vikings.
The former Gophers quarterback said he was surprised to return to the Twin Cities after the Browns cut him on Saturday.
“I found out more about it through Twitter more than my agent, but he called me right away and Mr. [Rick] Spielman called me also,” Gray said. “I’m happy to be here. I called my wife, and she was going crazy.”
Gray was flooded with texts and social media responses on Sunday as reports rolled in that the Vikings claimed him.
My phone and social media sites are finally starting to calm down lol! I couldn’t imagine if it was @EricDecker87 coming back to the vikes!
— MarQueis Gray (@MarQueisG) September 1, 2014
The Indianapolis native spent his rookie season last year with the Browns under offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who Gray felt had a big impact on the acquisition.
“[Turner] saw, first most, what I could do in this offense,” Gray said. “I believe he’s trusting me a lot, obviously, because he wants me to be here. I just got to make sure I do my part and uphold all the great things he’s said about me.”
Gray does not know the specifics of his role at the moment. He was used in two tight end formations and Wildcat plays with the Browns in his first season at the position.
“You never take a day off being a tight end,” Gray said. “A lot more physical stress on the body. That’s why I’m trying to mainly bulk up strength wise, because I’ve been doing a lot blocking. That’s been the main focus I’ve been working on since I’ve switched to tight end.”
If you're a Kevin, there's a decent chance you will be a part of a Minnesota professional sports team someday. And if that happens, there is a pretty good chance your time here will come to an unceremonious end.
Former Gopher MarQueis Gray was among the two waiver claims the Vikings won on Sunday.
Gray, who played quarterback for the Gophers and now serves as a tight end, was released by the Browns and announced his return to the Twin Cities on Twitter.
It’s official I’m a Viking!! I’m coming come thank you lord!!
— MarQueis Gray (@MarQueisG) August 31, 2014
Along with Gray, the Vikings claimed offensive tackle Michael Harris, who was released by the Chargers, according to an NFL source. Both players have previously worked with offensive coordinator Norv Turner, who held the same position last season with the Browns and served as the Chargers’ head coach in 2012.
The Vikings must make two corresponding transactions to make room for Gray and Harris on the 53-man roster.