EAGAN, Minn. -- Jeff Badet is carrying in his wallet a check written for $25,000 that is worthless.
The Minnesota Vikings wide receiver participated June 29 in 40 Yards of Gold, a Florida event in which 16 players competed in races to determine the NFL’s fastest man. Badet lost in the first round, but he said all players who participated would receive a minimum of $25,000.
Nearly a month after the event, Badet still hasn’t been paid. He said he was given a check he initially was told to deposit July 5 but later was informed has no value.
“I’ve still got the check in my wallet,’’ Badet said Tuesday. “I’m keeping it just in case. … I just heard a bank was saying there were zero dollars in an account that they wrote it to, so it’s just one big scam. I’m calling it one big scam.’’
Badet, who spent last season on Minnesota’s practice squad, was among 37 rookies and select veterans to report to training camp Monday for practices Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. All other players will report Thursday, including cornerback Trae Waynes, who also competed in 40 Yards of Gold and lost in the first round.
Waynes agent, Brian Murphy, did not return a message. Badet said none of the participants has been paid. It has been reported that San Francisco wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who won the event and was to receive $1 million, has yet to claim his prize.
Participants received checks the night of the event and were told they could deposit them July 5, but they later received a notice that the checks wouldn’t clear. Badet said some participants tried to deposit their checks.
“A lot of guys ended up depositing it and a lot of guys’ accounts were frozen and all that stuff,’’ Badet said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen.’’
One attendee said there were between 1,000 and 2,000 fans at 40 Yards of Gold at the BB&T Center in Sunrise, Fla, which seats about 20,000. The event was sold on pay per view for $39.95.
“It was actually fun,’’ Badet said. “How they held it, it was professional and all that. That’s why I’m confused that it wasn’t what they told us it was going to be.’’
Messages requesting a comment from 40 Yards of Gold were not returned.
Extra training for Bradbury
Vikings rookie center Garrett Bradbury is looking for every edge he can get.
That includes last week attending the Offensive Line Masterminds Conference, put on for a second year in Frisco, Texas, a Dallas suburb, by notable offensive line instructor Duke Manyweather. A number of NFL linemen attended.
“It was a unique opportunity,’’ said Bradbury, taken with the No. 18 pick in April’s draft. “Several NFL veterans, just to hear from them, we talked through a whole bunch of different topics.’’
Bradbury said he got tips on recovery techniques and what helps mentally. He roomed during the event with Vikings tackle Rashod Hill, who is trained by Manyweather.
“(Hill) went last year,’’ Bradbury said. “He told me how good of an experience it was.’’
Pupungatoa focusing in camp
Undrafted rookie guard Tiano Pupungatoa said Monday it was “surreal” and a “dream come true’’ to sign with the Vikings. On Tuesday, he said it was time to settle down to business.
Pupungatoa, who starred at River Falls (Wis.) High School and South Dakota State, was signed after the Vikings on Monday waived running back Roc Thomas.
“I’m here and I’m thankful for it, but I’ve just got to focus and grind for the next month or so and do whatever I got to do,’’ Pupungatoa said after Tuesday’s practice. “Basically, I’m just trying to focus on being a sponge with soaking up everything I can learn.’’
Pupungatoa participated in May in Minnesota’s rookie minicamp on a tryout basis. After the camp, Pupungatoa said director of pro scouting Ryan Monnens predicted the Vikings would sign him at some point, and he “trusted their word.’’
Vikings general manager Rick Spielman called Pupungatoa “an athletic kid” that after the minicamp “was one of the guys that we definitely starred and wanted to get back.”