Hill amazed at his own longevity

Shaun Hill wasn’t sure he would make the team the first time he was with the Vikings in 2002. Now he returns to the place where his 14-year career started. This time, his role is far different.

Shaun Hill originally signed with the Minnesota Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2002 and remained with the team through the 2005 season. After that he spent time in San Francisco, Detroit and St. Louis but he has now come full circle and returned to the Vikings.

Not many players can say they have played in the NFL for 14 years, but even though the odds were against him, Hill managed to do just that. There were many people that did not think he was an NFL prospect coming out of college and he even jokes around with people saying that he probably shouldn’t have played a single year.

When he moved into his dorm room on the Minnesota State University, Mankato campus Saturday for the start of training camp – the first time since leaving Minnesota that he had training camp away from his team’s home – he couldn’t help but look back on what he has been through and just feel grateful for everything that has happened.

“I wrote in my notebook last night before the team meeting ‘2015 training camp’ and then I wrote underneath it ‘14th training camp’ and I couldn’t believe it. I just, I have no idea,” he said. “I tell people I probably never should have had one year in the league and here I am at 14. It’s just, I’ve been very, very blessed and when I wrote that I just kind of took a minute to just think about the blessing I have been given for sure.”

Despite being in the league for so long, he still understands that there are things he needs to improve on. He knows he needs to work hard to improve those things, just like everyone else.

“Well, I think my role is the same as everyone else’s role in training camp and that is to improve over this period of time,” he said. “To be ready to go in each preseason game and perform well in each of those games, and build towards the season.

“I mean we all have something to improve on, me included. Especially offensively, it takes time to gel and be a cohesive unit so all of us have to work together and work hard every single day to make sure that happens, and continue to happen throughout training camp and that we are ready to go Week 1.”

When Hill was first drafted by the Vikings, he earned a roster spot as the team’s third-string quarterback and remained in that role during his first four years in Minnesota. He even joked that meant he was always the last roster spot.

Since leaving, he has been a backup, challenged other quarterbacks for the starting position, and has even been named the starter on a few occasions. There will be no competition for him this year, as he knows that he will be the backup to Teddy Bridgewater, but the team is also trusting him to help mentor what they believe is their franchise quarterback.

That could be thought of as being a big responsibility, but Hill has been in that role before with other teams. And at the end of the day he is just happy to be back with the Vikings.

“Well, I’ve been in this role before, so that helps,” he said. “But it’s definitely a different role for me with this organization. I was the last guy on the roster for four straight years as the third quarterback and never got any playing time, so that part is a little different, but it’s exciting and I’m certainly happy to be back.”

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