SDSU’s Pupungatoa Living the Dream in Vikes Camp
SDSU's Pupungatoa Living the Dream in Vikes Camp
EAGAN, MN… Wisconsin native and life long Green Bay Packer fan Sepestiano Pupungatoa never grew up imagining he’d wear Minnesota Vikings purple.
Tiano Pupungatoa, Former SDSU OL says:”It is kind of an ironic deal that I’m with the Vikings, but I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity.
Tiano, for short, has gotten used to making switches since he came to South Dakota State as a defensive lineman in 2015.
Pupungatoa says: “I think my coaches saw it more than me. I was stubborn and wanted a little glory so I started at d-line and they saw that I could be a good offensive lineman so it just escalated from there and I just kept working.”
It paid off with Pupungatoa becoming a rock on the Jackrabbit offensive line, starting 38 of 39 games from 2016 through 2018, and becoming an All-American by taking the program’s mantra to heart.
Pupungatoa says:”Coach Stig teaches you to control what you can control and Coach Eck preaches it too. It’s one of their big philosophies is that you can’t control every outcome, but you can control what you do…”
That became almost prophetic as Tiano was signed as an un-drafted free agent by the Vikings just hours ahead of training camp.
Pupungatoa says:”This is a dream come true honestly…It’s like something you dream about when you’re a little kid and like you work all those years in middle school, high school and college believing that it’s going to happen and then it finally does…”
It’s the same path that CJ Ham and Adam Thielen have taken, giving Tiano proof…..
Adam Thielen, Vikings WR says:”Just go out and have fun and let it happen. There’s a lot of things in this game that you can’t control and obviously it’s easier said than done when you’re a veteran. But I think it’s just have fun and give it your all and let everything else play itself out…”
Pupungatoa says:”If I get cut I’m going to just keep working and see where I end up after that. Whatever happens happens but I’m just going to do my best to stay where I am…”
…that making the team can go from dream to reality.
In Eagan with the Vikings, Zach Borg, KDLT Sports.