‘I want to make him proud’: Vernon Adams Jr.’s mini-camp leadership makes Jake Wieneke want to go the extra mile

Photo courtesy: Montreal Alouettes

The conversation around the Montreal Alouettes this offseason has largely centred on the potential for a quarterback controversy between Vernon Adams Jr. and Trevor Harris next season, but that doesn’t appear to be a debate amongst their teammates.

Last week it was the incumbent starter Adams Jr. who flew his teammates down to Tacoma, Washington on his own dime for an unofficial three-day mini-camp. For those in attendance, including star receiver Jake Wieneke, the extra effort made by the pivot should obliterate any sensationalized concerns around his ability to lead the franchise.

“It’s amazing. This is our fourth mini-camp and me and my wife were even talking about it, just the man that he is, the leader that he is. Even just the way that he takes care of the structure that he has for the mini-camp and the way that he conducts that and makes sure that we have everything that we need when we’re out there,” Wieneke told Sean Campbell of TSN 690.

“Our families were out there, our kids were able to play with each other and the way that he led us and loved on us and made sure that we had everything that we needed was just so amazing. Me and my wife came back to the hotel that first night and it was like: ‘Wow, VA’s amazing.’ We already knew it, but we even know it more so now for what he did.”

Among those in attendance with Wieneke were receivers Eugene Lewis, Reggie White Jr., Dante Absher, Hergy Mayala and Kaion Julien-Grant, running backs William Stanback and Jeshrun Antwi, and quarterback Dominique Davis. However, veteran backup Trevor Harris did not make the trip.

Adams Jr. covered flights and accommodations for his teammates, as well as perks like food and massages. Player wives were also treated to a spa day while their husbands worked on their on-field chemistry. The whole event takes months of planning and is more than worth it, building team chemistry and deeply endearing the quarterback to his receivers.

“He leads us and makes sure that we’re on task working hard, but also he does it in such a personable way and in a fun way that I want to play for him,” Wieneke admitted. “I want to make him proud. I want to do my best for him. I could talk about him and the man that he is, the leader that he is, all day.”

After finally earning himself a starting job in 2019, Adams Jr. had a disappointing follow-up campaign in 2021 that was ended prematurely by injury. If his extra offseason effort can translate to game day, it could mean a career year for the 29-year-old and big things for the Alouettes.