The Minnesota Vikings are moving on in numerous different respects this offseason, and pretty much everything is on the table. . .even the team’s training staff.
The #Vikings are parting ways with head athletic trainer Eric Sugarman after 16 years with the team.— Ben Goessling (@BenGoessling) March 7, 2022
Per Ben Goessling of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, the Vikings have parted ways with Certified Athletic Trainer Eric Sugarman™.
Sugarman had been with the Vikings for 16 years, joining the franchise in 2006. He was a part of a couple of major injury returns during his time as the head trainer in Minnesota. The first was E.J. Henderson’s comeback from a broken femur that he suffered at the end of the 2009 season. Henderson was back on the field to start the 2010 season, a recovery so impressive that the process is actually known as the Henderson Protocol.
After that, of course, came Adrian Peterson’s miraculous recovery from a torn ACL in 2012, a comeback that saw him come up just yards short of the single-season rushing record. He also won the NFL’s Most Valuable Player Award that season in leading a Vikings’ team that had finished 13-3 the year before into the postseason.
During his tenure, Sugarman also gained some notoriety as the founder of the team’s “Donut Club,” with the Friday pictures during the regular season of coaches, players, and the training staff holding their pastries of choice gaining a significant following on social media.
The Wilf Family has released a statement following Sugarman’s departure:
We appreciate Eric’s commitment to the Minnesota Vikings organization and Vikings players over the past 16 seasons. Along with being the head athletic trainer, over the last two years Eric worked tirelessly as the team’s infection control officer to keep players, coaches, and staff safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We wish Eric, his wife, Heather, and their sons continued success moving forward.
Sugarman has also released a statement.
I am tremendously grateful to the Vikings and the Wilf family for the opportunity to spend 16 years in Minnesota and am proud of our collective efforts to keep players healthy and at their peak performance during that time. With the added role of infection control officer over the past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, I took very seriously the responsibility of extending that same level of care to all Vikings staff members. My wife, Heather, and our sons Jake and Ben are happy to call Minnesota home. We look forward to the open road ahead.
We want to wish the best of luck to Eric Sugarman and his family going forward. He put in plenty of good years of service with the Vikings, and they’re certain to land on their feet somewhere.