Vikings safety Camryn Bynum said in April he’s “trying to be the best football player in history.” And he’s sticking to his story.
Five months later, Bynum has reached one goal in pro football, becoming a starter in his second season in the NFL. But he believes there is much more to come.
“People obviously call you crazy until it happens,” Bynum said of the reaction to his comments in April. “But that’s always the goal, and if you have any other goal but to be the best, I don’t know why you’re playing football. I’m not coming out here to be mediocre.”
Bynum wasn’t mediocre in Minnesota’s 23-7 win over Green Bay in Sunday’s opener at U.S. Bank Stadium. After Week 1, he is rated as the NFL’s No. 16 safety by Pro Football Focus out of 68.
Bynum also said in April that “I expect” to start at safety. That was the week before the Vikings selected safety Lewis Cine out of Georgia with the No. 32 pick in the first round.
Many expected Cine would win the starting job. As it turned out, the competition wasn’t that close. Bynum, who started two games last season at safety when he still was adjusting from his role as a cornerback at California, showed that he is continuing to make strides.
“I would just say execution, just competing,” Bynum said of being able to win the job. “At the end of the day, everything you do is a competition. But I’m just trying to get better myself, competing with myself, seeing my performance last year and knowing there’s a lot more to get better at.”
It isn’t just on the football field where Bynum seeks to make an impact. For three weeks in June, he went to the Philippines to help victims of Typhoon Megi, which hit the island of Leyte in April. More than 200 people died in the storm, more than 300,000 people were displaced and more than 11,000 homes were damaged or destroyed.
Bynum’s mother is half Filipino. He traveled with her and other family members while partnering with New Life Community Care Foundation.
“My biggest thing is I just live a life of service, so the biggest thing is being able to sacrifice my time to be able to help other people,” said Bynum, who said he raised a few thousand dollars for the Philippines and also donated an unspecified amount. “That’s a big deal for me.”
On Tuesday, Bynum did some community work in the Twin Cities. He joined a handful of teammates — edge rusher Danielle Hunter, tight end Irv Smith Jr., kicker Greg Joseph and safety Josh Metellus — in a project aided by the Vikings and Polaris to build a home for a Twin Cities Habitat for Humanity family in Richfield.
“This is something I love to do,” Bynum said. “Being a blessing to other people is just amazing. … That’s the biggest thing, being able to build somebody’s home one day. It’s more than a house, it’s a home for somebody.”
On Thursday, it will be back to practice for Bynum as the Vikings prepare to play the Eagles in Philadelphia on Monday night in their first road game. He wants to build on the team’s showing against the Packers.
“We got the first game of many,” he said. “The job’s not finished yet, so we’ve got to just keep stacking it.”
Though Bynum got good reviews for the opener, he said there is much work to do. After all, he is trying to be the best ever.
“There’s plenty of plays I left out there,” Bynum said. “I want to be 100 percent every time. Obviously, that’s not going to happen, but you strive for that.”