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Coming home:

After a long journey, taking him to six states and two countries, alumnus Terrell Sinkfield Jr. is returning to his home state to join the Minnesota Vikings

Jun 2, 2016

2008 HHS alumnus, Terrell Sinkfield Jr., takes a sip of his water and talks more to himself than me as we wait on our food at the Ridgedale Redstone.

“The atmosphere is changing with the Vikings now. They’re starting to win and have a winning atmosphere. The new coaching staff brought that new atmosphere in. It reminds me of the feel we had at Hamilton. I’m excited for that.”

On January 23 of this year, Sinkfield signed a futures contract with his hometown, the Minnesota Vikings.

Sinkfield is 25 years old and has been cut by five NFL teams including the Green Bay Packers, Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens, and the New York Giants. Before college, Sinkfield had never even played the wide receiver position.

That was then. Now, Sinkfield is coming off of his most productive football season of his career as he posted more than 1,000 yards last season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in the Canadian Football League. The season before that, Sinkfield helped his team to the Grey Cup, the CFL’s version of the Super Bowl.

Hopkins’ hometown hero is now getting another shot with the Vikings.

He has earned it. The player who once reportedly ran the fastest ever hand timed forty yard dash at 4.19 seconds has never given up on his dream of playing in the NFL. Sinkfield has shown dedication, grit, and maturity throughout his journey.

“Where to even start,” Sinkfield said with a laugh.

Sinkfield was not recruited highly out of high school. After dealing with a lingering ankle sprain, Sinkfield was nominated his senior year as honorable mention for the AP Minnesota All-State team in 2008. His 750 yard and 10 touchdown senior year wasn’t enough to convince the University of Minnesota to offer him a scholarship.

“It definitely put a chip on my shoulder. It was a dream and a big motivation of mine to play for Minnesota. This is the only D1 school in Minnesota, but the only regret I have is wishing that [UNI] could’ve played them,” Sinkfield said.Screen Shot 2016-05-25 at 2.22.37 PM

Running backs coach Edward Burnes reflects fondly on Sinkfield’s high school days.

“He was one of the best at changing directions in a full stride that I had ever coached or ever been on a team with at any level,” Burnes said. “And I played with a division one school.”

One of’s football writers Kevin Patra offered up a similar analysis of Sinkfield days before the 2013 NFL Draft.

“Watching the 6-foot-1 receiver’s highlights, we expected to see a lot of go routes and Sinkfield just running away from defenders, but the senior displayed a lot more polish than just a track runner,” Patra wrote. “He adjusts well to many of the underthrown passes, fights for the ball, and displays elusiveness in the screen game.”

At the University of Northern Iowa, Sinkfield got playing time as a true freshman, and by his junior year he was a starting wideout. Throughout the college process, Sinkfield had to adapt to life as a wide receiver after playing running back his whole life. Nonetheless, the Hopkins alumnus caught 76 passes for 1,097 yards (14.4 average) and 10 scores throughout his time at UNI.

“My greatest memory in college was facing rival school North Dakota State University. All the games were crazy, and it made it even more special because I played against my best friend and high school teammate, Marcus Williams who was starting at corner. We would matchup against each other all the time, so that was pretty cool,” Sinkfield said.

For Sinkfield, it was his speed that brought him the recognition to appear on professional teams’ radar.

“I remember him as being one of the fastest young men I had ever seen from a standing start,” Burnes said.

Sinkfield was not invited to the NFL combine and instead had his chance to prove himself at his pro day which took place at the University of Minnesota. 11 professional teams were in attendance.

The 22 year old ran his first forty yard dash in a hand timed 4.27 seconds. The NFL combine record is currently held by running back Chris Johnson, who ran the forty yard dash in a blazing 4.24 seconds.

Sinkfield’s second attempt was clocked in at 4.19 seconds.

A video of Sinkfield sprinting the forty surfaced after the pro day and before long, the sports world was introduced to Sinkfield.

“There was a little buzz going on… I turned on the TV, and sure enough, it was on like every sports show,” Sinkfield said. “It was pretty nuts. [The 4.19] was what I needed to get some more exposure.”

The video wasn’t enough to convince an NFL team to pull the trigger and draft Sinkfield during the 2013 NFL Draft.

“I was getting calls on draft day, but I knew it was kind of a long shot. It wasn’t too big of a disappointment. I was just happy to get phone calls [on draft day],” Sinkfield said with a laugh.

After the draft, Sinkfield decided to sign with the Miami Dolphins. Less than a month later, he was cut.

Sinkfield bounced from team to team, playing a handful of preseason games but never staying long enough to make an impact.

“I went through the transition all throughout college of making the transition from running back, and I think that’s a big part of me getting cut in the NFL, still not being my full potential as a receiver. The teams wanted to see a more polished receiver, so that experience was rough,” Sinkfield said.

By August 25, Sinkfield was back in Minnesota and jobless. He knew he had a tough decision to make.

“The opportunity came for me to go to Canada to go to the CFL,” Sinkfield said. “I took it as an opportunity to get more experience as a receiver. It ended up being the best decision I made.”

In his first year with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, Sinkfield helped the Cats make it to the CFL championship game, the Grey Bowl. The following year, Sinkfield blew up, doubling and tripling his previous year’s statistics in receptions, yards, scores, and games started.

Sinkfield posted 1,399 all purpose yards in 2015 and received recognition for six receiving touchdowns.

On January 23, 2016, Sinkfield’s hard work panned out into a second chance. He was offered a futures contract for his hometown team, the Minnesota Vikings.

“Now that I’m signed with Minnesota, it’s time. It’s really a dream come true, growing up watching the Vikings. It still hasn’t really hit me yet,” Sinkfield said.

Sinkfield is ready to get to work in a Vikings uniform.

“My first goal is to make the team. Other than that, I want to fight for a starting job as a receiver and help get the team to a Super Bowl any way I can. I’m excited to go out there and block for Adrian Peterson. He’s the greatest running back to do it. I’m just excited and ready to get out there.”

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