#34, Albert Young, RB
(5092, 209, 4.48-4.60) Iowa
Notes: Born 2/25/85, in Moorestown, N.J. Parents are Darlene Young and Carson Miller. Attended Moorestown High School, where he was coached by Frank Paris and Russ Horton. Rushed for 2,180 and scored 32 touchdowns his senior season. Rushed for 1,000 yards and scored 23 TDs (17 rush, 5 receiving, 1 return) as a junior, despite missing three games with a sprained MCL. He was the first running back in South Jersey to rush for over 2,000 yards in two seasons. He rushed for 2,007 yards and scored 25 touchdowns (20 rushing, 4 receiving, 1 return) as a sophomore. Concluded his prep career as the all-time leading rusher in South New Jersey with 5,411 yards. He remains the all-time leading rusher in South Jersey.
College: After originally committing to Wisconsin to play football for Barry Alvarez, he changed his mind and opted for the Iowa Hawkeyes in 2003. Redshirted in '03 after breaking his fibula during summer workouts. Played in two games (starting one) in 2004; rushed 27 times for 92 yards (3.4 avg.) with two touchdowns and caught 2-22 before suffering a torn ACL in his right knee, which required surgery. Came back to start 11 of 12 games in 2005; led the Big 10 in rushing with 249-1,344-8 (5.4 avg.) and caught 24-244 (10.2 avg.). Started 11 of 13 games in 2006, rushing 178-803-7 (4.5 avg.) and catching 30-225-1 (7.5 avg.) while missing two games with a strained left MCL. Fully healthy as a senior (2007), he started all 12 games and rushed 206-968-6 (4.7 avg.) and caught 23-212-1 (9.2 avg.). Rushed for 3,173 yards on 660 carries (4.8-yard avg.) and 23 touchdowns, while catching 79 passes for 705 yards (8.9 avg.) and 2 TDs in four seasons with the Hawkeyes. Had a career-best 202 yards rushing on 38 attempts against Northwestern in 2005.
Pro: Signed by the Vikings as an undrafted rookie free agent following the 2008 NFL Draft. Rushed for 127 yards on 39 carries (3.3 avg.) and caught seven passes for 66 yards (9.4 avg.) during four preseason contests. Released on the team's final roster cuts, he was subsequently re-signed and spent the entire 2008 season on the Vikings practice squad. Young showed improvement in training camp last summer, rushing 40-141 (3.5 avg.), including a 32-yard run from scrimmage, while catching 8-52 (6.5 avg.) with a long of 17 yards during the 2009 preseason. After making the 53-man roster, he was active for 7 of 16 games, seeing action mostly on special teams. In late mop-up duty in a couple games, he rushed for 53 yards on 12 carries (4.4 avg.), with a long of 10 yards.
Positives: Versatile, productive, all-around running back. Well-built and strong for his size, he is built low to the ground and runs with excellent balance and determination. Good vision, instincts and ability to pick a hole and burst through seams in the defense. Bleeds yardage and always seems to get as much or more than you'd expect from each run. Breaks tackles and fights for extra yardage. An effective pass-catcher out of the backfield, Young has shown good hands as a receiver (caught 79 passes during his college career). Capable blocker who cuts defenders nicely and showed marked improvement on blitz pickups this past season. Gives effort as a blocker and is willing to cover kicks on special teams.
Negatives: He is shorter than you'd like, does not have super-quick, make-you-miss moves and is not a true threat to go the distance. He does not possess top-end speed. Drops some passes and has not been truly thrown to the wolves with live bullets on pass protection.
Summary: Young has developed nicely in his two seasons with the Vikings, showing improved overall consistency in all aspects of the game. Given the opportunity, he could prove to be very productive in a poor man's Brian Westbrook-type role.
Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow VU on Twitter and discuss this and other topics on our message boards.
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