‘Face of the league.’ How Justin Jefferson spent his summer vacation

Vikings star receiver Justin Jefferson took a step further into the spotlight this offseason. He visited Brazil as an NFL ambassador during the month between spring practices and training camp that opened this week.

Jefferson checked out Rio de Janeiro's Christ the Redeemer statue and watched a Flamengo win at the Maracanã – the largest stadium in Brazil – with a unique tour guide: soccer star and friend Vinicius Jr., who plays for Real Madrid and the Brazil national team.

"One of the most beautiful places I've ever visited," Jefferson said after Wednesday's practice. "It was definitely an eye opener just being with Vinicius Jr., seeing the type of life he lives over there, and just being part of that culture and that vibe."

Jefferson previously met with Vinicius Jr. in March, when he attended a Real Madrid match in Spain.

His Brazil trip produced viral social media posts for the NFL of Jefferson, the 24-year-old All-Pro, and Vinicius Jr., the 23-year-old who is considered one of the world's best soccer players. They tried each other's sports. Vinicius Jr. donned shoulder pads and a purple No. 18 jersey, learning how to catch a football. Jefferson said his soccer footwork is "coming along."

"Really it was teaming up with the NFL and soccer," Jefferson said. "We want to be international with football. It's all about bringing the light to flag football and really bringing together football and soccer."

"I love being a face of the league," he added. "But I'll be even more a face of the league after I get a Super Bowl."

Jefferson was a full participant in Wednesday's practice. He is not limiting his workload despite ongoing contract negotiations.

"That's not the worries I have right now," he said. "It's really all about winning a Super Bowl, just getting the wins and being with my team. The contract is going to play itself, and I'm just out here to play football."

Hunter present, but not practicing

Edge rusher Danielle Hunter has reported to training camp, according to his coaches and teammates, but he did not practice Wednesday. He was not seen by reporters during the 90-minute session. Reserve edge rusher D.J. Wonnum continued to get Hunter's first-team reps opposite Marcus Davenport. After practice, Wonnum said Hunter's return has been beneficial.

"His veteran presence, knowledge of the game," Wonnum said. "Just seeing him in the building and knowing he's there with us. It's been good to see him."

Defensive coordinator Brian Flores said he had "some conversations" with Hunter during the offseason before meeting with him at the facility for the first time Tuesday. Flores said he's not concerned about Hunter getting up to speed after the Pro Bowl pass rusher held out of June minicamp amid a contract dispute.


• Tight end T.J. Hockenson mused about his favorite part of training camp — team bonding — when he made quick mention of Wednesday's 100-degree heat index in Eagan: "My least favorite is probably a day like [Wednesday]," he said. "It's hot as [heck] and you're sweating so much. I have to go in there and chug about a gallon of water to be ready for [Thursday]."

• Right tackle Brian O'Neill was not placed on an injured list, meaning he's eligible to practice, but he continued to work on a side field with trainers while recovering from the Jan. 1 torn Achilles.