Young Feeling Good About Chances with Vikings

Albert Young left Iowa as the school's third all-time leading rusher. Now, the former Hawkeye, is trying to stick with the Minnesota Vikings after signing as an undrafted free agent in April. Young speaks about his situation in the Twin Cities, what he feels that he needs to do to make the team, learning the playbook and playing with former Iowa teammate Chad Greenway. In this Hn.com feature.

The Minnesota Vikings pack a powerful 1-2 punch in running backs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. Albert Young is just hoping to get in the ring.

Iowa's third all-time leading rusher signed a rookie free agent contract with Minnesota in April. He's been doing whatever he can to impress the coaches ever since.

"Things are going well," Young said. "I'm picking up the play book pretty quick. I'm just trying to get into the groove with everything and feeling comfortable with everything. I think things are going really well."

Young finished his Hawkeye career with 3,173 yards and 23 touchdowns on 660 carries. The New Jersey native also grabbed 79 passes for 705 yards and a pair of scores. He was known as a versatile back and a solid blocker.

Minnesota Running Backs Coach Eric Bieniemy reportedly praised Young during some workouts in late May, but the news agency, Vikingupdate.com, also said it would be tough for the rookie to make the 53-man roster.

"I'm going to have to be able to contribute on the special teams," Young said about his chances to make the team. "Then I'm going to make sure I know the play book and use my hands and run."

Young also has a chance to earn a spot on the practice squad, a sort of a developmental program for the main team.

Young has been participating in O.T.A.'s (Organized Team Activities) throughout the last few months.

"We usually go four times week. This week is three times," Young said on Wednesday. "We get to practice once a day with just helmets on, just running plays. The practices aren't too long, but we get a lot of good work in."

The Vikings also have put Young through a rookie mini camp and a mandatory team camp that took place last weekend. He said that a lot of the plays he's learned are similar to what he ran in college.

"I would say that it's the terminology that's different," Young said. "You really run the same type of stuff. It's just that the names and numbers are different so you have to change your thinking."

Young has been able to show off his receiving skills, one of the strengths of his game.

"It's a West Coast offense, so the backs get involved in the passing game a lot," Young said. "With the way that Adrian (Peterson) and Chester (Taylor) run, you don't think they throw to them, but the backs are involved in the passing game a whole lot."

Young's transition has been eased by the presence of former Hawkeye teammate Chad Greenway, a 2005 first-round pick.

"It's nice having a familiar face," Young said. "(Former Iowa teammate) Mike Jones signed (Tuesday). That's another face."

Tom Busch, the fullback Young ran behind at Iowa, tried out for the Vikings but didn't stick. Young was not sure what is former teammate was going now.

Young knows he's fighting an uphill battle to make the team, but he has company.

"Yeah, I'm with guys that were late draft picks the last few years," he said. "Unless you're a high pick, nobody is really safe. I think I'm in a very good situation. I feel good about it, to tell you the truth."


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