Former NFL lineman, current Vikings coach Chris Kuper returns to Anchorage for annual camp

Published: Jul. 1, 2022 at 5:35 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Dimond High School alum Chris Kuper was named the Minnesota Vikings Offensive Line Coach this offseason. Prior to coaching up professionals who get paid millions of dollars, he led his annual three-day Solstice Lineman Camp at East Anchorage High School this week.

“What brings me back here is obviously family. I grew up here,” Kuper said. “Being able to develop the talent in this town and really kind of specify for the big guys who don’t get as much information, as much opportunity to go to these camps, and I am excited that it keeps growing you know. We get 30, 40 more year over year so it means we are doing something right.”

Over 100 Alaskan kids learned from one of the best to come out of the state as Kuper passes on the same knowledge he shares with his professional athletes.

“Really just core values that I try to instill in my pro players,” Kuper said of the instruction he gave during his camp. “The first thing we talk about is listening. Listening is a skill. Understanding that when we are coaching other players you need to listen and you are also getting coached in turn.”

“What we are all trying to do, football specifically, is teach them the small basics of the small things that people take from granted, these are things that they can rep in their living room, they can rep on their own, they are simple things that they can take away with them and they can use wherever they play high school, college, down the road — it’s fundamentals of football.”

Kuper won an Alaska State Football Championship with Dimond in 2001, before attending the University of North Dakota which propelled an eight-year NFL career with the Denver Broncos.

“It is a badge of honor,” Kuper said of being Alaskan. “I went to a small school too so I hold a badge of honor for that too and any opportunity that I can help drive eyes here, drive talent out of here, that is what gets me excited. I love coming to Alaska I love spending time with my family, and fishing, it is a great place to be, a great place to grow up.”

Following his pro football retirement in 2014, Kuper took up coaching at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado for fun and to stay around the game. In 2016, he was hired by the Miami Dolphins as an offensive quality control coach before being promoted to the assistant offensive line coach in Miami, before his former team in Denver called on him for the same position in 2019.

In February, Kuper was named the Offensive Line coach for the Vikings, but makes sure to spend some time each summer coaching in Alaska to highlight and develop Alaska high school talent.

“It’s a hill to climb in terms of where we start, the exposure, to get recruited, and the perception that football might not be good up here, and I think over the years we have proved there is good talent up here, it just needs to be measured, it needs to be evaluated, and hopefully we are bringing more eyes to that.”

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