Line hopes to earn trust of coaches, Peterson
Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line is working to prove to the coaching staff that he deserves a spot on the team’s 53-man roster. That might be hard to do since the team used Jerome Felton on a limited basis last year and many consider him one of the top fullbacks in the NFL. The Vikings also have two tight ends, Rhett Ellison and MyCole Pruitt, who have the ability to line up in the backfield and play as fullbacks.
Even though it seems to be an uphill battle for Line, he is working hard and feels like he is improving. It is a tough transition from playing running back in college to fullback in the NFL, but he thinks he is getting the hang of it.
“I think I’ve come a long way,” Line said. “Transitioning from running back to fullback, on paper it doesn’t look that hard, but it’s a hard thing to do – striking NFL linebackers.
“You’ve got your hand in the dirt so you can’t really see, so you’ve got to know the movement, through Phil’s legs, because you can’t really see around those guys anymore. At running back you’re trying to avoid contact and try to get yards, and at fullback you’re finding contact and mono-a-mono so that’s the biggest transition.”
Even though Felton set some pretty high expectations during his time in Minnesota, Line still feels like having him on the team helps him more than hurts him. Yes, people will always compare him to Felton, but having him there also gave Line someone to learn from. Why not learn from one of the best?
Line is confident in his abilities as a football player, but that along won’t earn him a spot. What might help him, though, is he also seems to have the confidence of the team’s star running back, Adrian Peterson.
“He’s a heck of a back,” Peterson said about Line. “Coming from SMU, set a lot of records there and then coming in and making that transition into more of a fullback. He’s a guy that’s dependable; he knows what he’s doing out there and he’s aggressive. One thing he’s picked up on is playing fast and that makes it easier on the backs. So I’m excited to have him in front of me this year and we look to do big things on the ground.”
The running back did not always have this sort of confidence in Line, and the fullback admitted that he learned quickly that you do what Peterson wants or you will get run over.
“No, I learned just go,” Line said when asked if Peterson has ran him over this offseason yet. “My rookie year I tried to hesitate a little bit and find my blocks and he just said go, so I just go. He finds the holes.”
Line still has a lot to prove to the coaching staff if he is going to make the 53-man roster at the end of the preseason, but the way things stand right now he appears to be on the right track.
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