Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) --- Duluth, Minn. native and former University of Minnesota-Duluth (UMD) offensive lineman Garth Heikkinen has accepted an invitation to the rookie camp of the Minnesota Vikings, he confirmed to NNCNOW.com on Sunday morning.
"I was obviously a huge Vikings fan growing up here in Minnesota, so this is a dream come true," Heikkinen said. "I would have been happy with any team, but it's pretty special being given that opportunity by the team you've grown up cheering for."
The camp will run Friday through Sunday for Heikkinen and the other Minnesota rookies, with the former Bulldog confident he can impress while on the field.
"You just have to do everything they expect out of an offensive lineman," Heikkinen said. "Don't make any mental mistakes. Play until the whistle. Show them you can compete at that level."
The former Duluth Central standout amassed a school-record 11 All-American awards during his time as a Bulldog, with another school-record eight of those being first team honors.
He was also named the winner of the 2012 Gene Upshaw Award, which is given each year to the best lineman in NCAA Division II. For that, he became just the second UMD player to ever be invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game.
Heikkinen has been a staple on the offensive line during his four years at UMD, starting a school-record 54 straight games and helping the team to an overall record of (47-7).
In 2012, he was one of five senior captains during a season in which the team posted a program-record 46.5 points per game.
The Duluth native was the Bulldogs' first-four time all-Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference honoree, being named three times to the first team (2010-12) and once being given honorable mention (2009).
Heikkinen becomes the second former UMD offensive lineman to get his shot at the NFL this year, with Jake Bscherer agreeing Saturday to attend the rookie camp of the Seattle Seahawks. Former quarterback Chase Vogler has also moved on to the pros, leaving last week for the Bielfeld Bulldogs of the German Football League.