Vikings offensive lineman David Yankey has had a pretty big month.
The Stanford guard was drafted in the fifth round of the NFL draft by Minnesota. By the time rookie minicamp rolled around, he became one of the first Vikings rookies to sign a contract. He'll also be wrapping up classes soon, as one of the three just-drafted Vikings whose school is on a quarters system – meaning he went back out west to finish the year and will miss upcoming OTAs.
But the 22-year-old Yankey also took a big non-football step this week. We'll let him tell it.
Yankey, you see, was not a Yankee. He was born in Sydney, Australia. And his journey to Minnesota has been like few others'.
Yankey grew up Down Under, with his Slovakian mother (Darina) and Ghanian father (David Sr.), ESPN reported in a profile from December. They moved to the United States' deep south – Roswell, Georgia – in 2000, when he was 8 years old. (He tells ESPN he somehow ended up without either cool accent, however.)
The three had planned to get their citizenship together. But when the young Yankey went to California for college (and football), his progress got put on hold. His father, however, continued on, as David Sr. became a U.S. citizen in July.
Two short months later, tragedy struck. On Sept. 23, the first day of classes at Stanford, David Sr. died, ESPN reported. Cardiac arrest, back in Roswell.
"I didn't talk to him about it," Yankey tells ESPN "but it did mean a lot to him, after working here for so long. He was really eager for me to do it as well."