Vikings’ Pruitt embracing versatile role
MyCole Pruitt is one of the more intriguing draft picks that the Minnesota Vikings made this year. He played at Southern Illinois, an FCS college, but was able to put up the best numbers in the 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, 20-yard shuttle and 60-yard shuttle among tight ends at the NFL Scouting Combine.
The Vikings were able to get him in the fifth round, much to the delight of offensive coordinator Norv Turner, and he has already been drawing comparisons to Buffalo’s tight end Charles Clay. Pruitt feels honored to be compared to a player like that and said that he hopes he is able to bring that kind of production to the Vikings.
“I have heard a lot of people compare me to Charles Clay,” Pruitt said. “I mean, we have a lot of the same measurables and our game is a lot a like. And he obviously made a big impact out there in Miami and was able to move on and get a big contract from that. So I’m extremely honored to be compared to a guy like that.”
One reason that Pruitt has been compared to Clay is because they are almost the same size. Clay is listed at 6-foot-3, 255 pounds and Pruitt is listed at 6-foot-2, 251 pounds.
Another similarity between the two is that they are both very versatile players. Last year with the Miami Dolphins, Clay would line up as a tight end on the line or in the slot, and as a fullback. During the course of the season he recorded 58 receptions for 605 yards and three touchdowns. He was also on the receiving end of 31 first-down passes. Not only was Clay good as a receiver, but he was also a solid blocker.
Pruitt has shown the same type of versatility in his career, albeit at a lower level. During his senior year at Southern Illinois, he recorded 81 receptions for 861 yards and 13 touchdowns. And the Vikings have already been having him learn and work out at multiple positions during their rookie minicamp.
“I’m a versatile player,” Pruitt said. “Like I said, they’re fitting me all over the offense. And I just got here and they’re already trusting me to learn a couple different positions and I feel like whereever I’m put on the field I can make an impact there and help the team win.”
It is a big role for the young player to fill and there is a lot for him to learn. A lot of rookies will say learning an NFL playbook is a lot of work for one position, now Pruitt is learning it for multiple. But he said that he was ready to do it, especially since it is the kind of role he had in college.
“You know, it’s hard but I was ready for that,” Pruitt said. “I talked to coach a little bit before I got down here and he told me what kind of role I’d be playing. I did a lot in college – moved around and learned a few different positions – so I was ready for that mental challenge. And it’s all just a mindset. You have to be mentally tough and I feel like I can do that.”
This offseason, Pruitt has spent some time studying game tape of Clay in order to see how he plays the role he has been put in. It is likely Pruitt will one day be put in the same type of role, if not during his rookie season, and he wants to be prepared.
The rookie hasn’t had the opportunity to talk to the veteran tight end yet, but hopes that he gets to one day.
“I’ve gotten a chance to look at his tape,” Pruitt said. “I never got a chance to talk to him. That would be great to one day get to do that. But I looked at his tape and seen all the things he does, and if I can make an impact like that and bring it to the Vikings that would be huge for this team.”
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