Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 6/7/12
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. McDonald's has served over a billion people, but the fast-food restaurant chain might have served Minnesota Vikings offensive lineman Brandon Fusco for the final time. An admitted fast-food connoisseur, Fusco gave up eating greasy cheeseburgers this offseason. The 6-foot-4, 306-pound Fusco entered the NFL as an unfinished product, a sixth-round pick by Minnesota in 2011 out of Division II Slippery Rock. It wasn't just the mental transition for Fusco though. He knew his body needed work as well. Fusco, with designs on winning the starting right guard spot on the Vikings' offensive line, changed his habits this offseason. He woke early and ate a good breakfast. He trained tirelessly. And, he cut out the fast-food diet. When he returned to Minnesota in April, Fusco had changed dramatically much stronger in the upper-body, leaner all over. Practicing at right guard with the first string during organized team activities the past two weeks, Fusco has noticed the difference. "I feel a lot more energetic, better shape," he said. "I'm not out there huffing and puffing and being a fatty. So I'm feeling good. I feel real good." While slotting in with the starters in June doesn't mean Fusco will be starting in the season-opener on Sept. 9, it does show where he is in the pecking order. The Vikings have an opening after cutting guards Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera in March and Fusco doesn't plan on letting the current arrangement change before the season begins. Fusco is one option to replace Herrera at right guard, competing with free-agent addition Geoff Schwartz and 2010 fifth-round pick Chris DeGeare. He's been working to be the leader of the group since the offseason began. "Actually I gained about five pounds, but I look a lot thinner and leaner," Fusco said. "Just watched what I ate and worked out every day and just took the weekends off. Didn't really take a break, so it was good." Fusco's newfound energy and strength fits his demeanor. His teammates have noticed the difference. It would have been impossible not to see the changes from being the small-school project he was as a rookie to now. "He wasn't overly experienced, especially coming from a small school," center John Sullivan said. "So, I think he had to get a little bit used to the speed of the game, the size of the guys he's playing against. But he's always been a mauler, very tough. That was apparent from Day 1 last year. Those are his strengths. They're magnified this season. He's gotten bigger, stronger, smarter. He's going to do a great job." Fusco, drafted as a center, played guard in three games last season when Herrera was hurt. The only Slippery Rock player ever invited to the combine, Fusco is able to concentrate solely on guard right now. "That helps a lot," Fusco said. "I like playing center, too, don't get me wrong. But it's a lot to know, the center position. And the right guard, just to focus on one position right now, is key. My mind's a lot less stressed." The Vikings could use a "mauler" at the guard position to help out their running game with the rehabbing Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart still expected to be a focus of the offense. Sliding one spot to the right on the offensive line has been a transition for Fusco. He said he's used to having the ball in his hand on every play and hadn't played guard since high school. Fusco said his focus has been "nothing less than starting," adding that trying to win a starting job for the first time adds a little stress. He's still working on certain techniques at guard. But if he can learn proper technique, Sullivan believes Fusco will be a perfect fit next to him for years to come on Minnesota's offensive line. "He's getting there," Sullivan said. "If you can develop technique along with the type of attitude and type of physicality he brings to the game, you're going to have a great offensive lineman." Thanks to a new diet and a lot of work, he's looks ready for the challenge. Follow Brian Hall on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Greg Jennings: Ryan Tannehill has had his hands tied by coaches

Josh McDaniels 'happy' with Pats but wants to be a head coach again

WATCH: Jim Harbaugh in cleats throws out first pitch at Cubs game

Why Rickie Fowler will win the PGA Championship

Warren Sapp bitten on arm by shark

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Fitzpatrick, Jets agree to one-year deal

Baker considering removing Papelbon from closer role?

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Report: Ravens WR Mike Wallace failed conditioning test

WATCH: Kobe Bryant drives Ferrari around Italian racetrack

Terrelle Pryor shouts out Ohio State after ban ends

Justin Timberlake advocates for Memphis to join Big 12

Poll: Las Vegas residents don’t support public funds for NFL stadium

Conor McGregor talks trash to Nate Diaz on ‘Conan’

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Real Madrid can’t train at Norwegian school because of the kids

Newspaper uses Michael Jordan ‘crying face’ as image

Equipment manager Blake Griffin punched no longer works for Clippers

Report: Nicks signing one-year deal with Saints

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

We asked Team USA: What other Olympic sport would you play?

Why Gary Bettman's CTE denial is cause for concern for NHL

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker