Will Hill insists that his past is far behind him.
The former University of Florida safety is taking a safer approach now that he's married, but some NFL teams were interested in making their own assessments. The Vikings were one of those teams. According to Hill, they were one of at least five teams that interviewed him at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Their interest in a safety should surprise no one. Their interest in Hill is a bit of a surprise given the team's propensity to take several dozen players off their draft board altogether when they view them as character or injury risks.
It's possible Hill will fit that bill by the time the Vikings' final draft board is assembled, but they were at least interested in learning more about him at the NFL Scouting Combine.
"They want to know about my character, period," Hill said when asked what teams were inquiring about during his interviews. "Am I a party guy? Who did I grow up with? The whole Twitter situation."
"The whole Twitter situation" refers to what became a legendary account among University of Florida followers. Hill's account was laced with profanity, sexual references and vulgarity. While claiming the account was hacked after a college football website posted some of the more controversial tweets, eventually Hill decided that he had better delete the account.
Now it's up to NFL teams to decide if he has actually matured since those tweets, one of which included a picture of him in a suggestive position with bikini-clad women.
"The photo, yeah, I'm at a pool party and people wanted to take pictures with me. It got blown out of proportion to Will did this, Will did that," he said a little more than a month after deleting his account. "People don't know I've been married for a year now. All that Twitter stuff was seven, eight months before my marriage. Everybody is going off previous things, not knowing the real Will Hill. I'm a family man. I have three daughters. They all look up to me."
Hill said his desire to support his family is one of the reasons he decided to leave college after his junior season and enter the NFL. He also didn't want to spend his final year with the Gators undergoing a coaching change.
Hill admitted that he could have done better at Florida, and now he is likely to be a mid-round pick, if too many teams haven't scratched him off their draft board completely.
On the field, there are skills to like. At 6-foot-1 and 202 pounds, Hill has the size and range. He emulates the playing style of Sean Taylor and Ed Reeds, he said, but Hill was considered inconsistent at Florida during his three-year Florida career.
"I'm very laid back, first off. When it comes to the ball in the air I'm very vicious, tenacious," he said. "I see myself as a free safety."
Hill became a special teams tackler as well, which should help his draft stock, but most of the questions with Hill will revolve around his purported maturity, and teams were asking about that during their interviews with him at the Combine.
"There's rumors out here that Will Hill is a party guy. If I go out now, my wife is with me and my kids. I don't go out to meet people or gallivant. I sit back and just relax and enjoy my time," he said. "As a football player, they get a passionate guy. This is all I know. I come on the field and I go to work. I cover much ground."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings interviewed controversial safety
Viking Update Top Stories
Reports: Peterson nearing dealFormer Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson could find a home before the NFL draft kicks off Thursday.
Viking Update1:13 PM
Mayock on Vikings’ ‘splash’ decisionWithout a first-round pick, what does NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock expect from the Minnesota Vikings’ second-round pick?
Viking Update12:36 PM
Former Vikings tackle calls it a careerThe Minnesota Vikings didn’t have Jake Long for long last year, but the Vikings will go down as the offensive tackle’s last NFL team.
Viking Update9:54 AM
In-depth NFL draft analysis: SafetiesOne of the best safety classes in some time could see two of them chosen in the top 10 and many more in the first two days. Is it worth a shot for the Minnesota Vikings? We assess…
Viking Update7:29 AM