Bradley Randle is working hard to improve his skills this off-season and he is ready for the 2014 season to begin. Daniel House catches up with Randle to update his progress and to explain how he will become a weapon on the field this season.
There is no off-season for Vikings running back Bradley Randle. The only time is between breaths as he climbs the hills of California. Randle has been working on various skills such as, speed, quickness, and agility, while adding what could be one of his most important skills in 2014: pass catching.
"Improving my overall game is my focus. Being a better pro and that comes from film study, learning how to be a kickoff and punt returner, and receiver, as well as running back. I want to be an overall tool player to the point where if there was a new position, I would like my position to be called the weapon," explained Randle.
The Vikings will need a feature scat-back to implement the type of scheme new offensive coordinator Norv Turner would like to install. Randle is ready for the challenge and can handle any workload that is fired his way.
"Every day and night I go out, I've been focusing on improving my hand-eye coordination by catching tennis balls and by catching footballs," Randle stated. "I go out and catch at least 200 passes to improve my coordination. Being a running back, you can always improve your skills catching the ball, as well as running," Randle added.
Randle has seen both sides of the NFL and after spending the majority of the season on the practice squad and in free agency, he is ready to find his role and contribute with the Minnesota Vikings.
"Anything I can do to help the team and showcase my talent and my skills. I just want to be the best I can and show I can do anything as a scat back, kick and punt returner, or running back."
Randle has been working the hills of California much like Walter Payton did in his prime and he finds himself trying to develop his own running style that nobody has seen before. Randle wants to incorporate many different elements into his game and by emulating some of the greatest to play his position, he hopes to do so.
"[Hill work] is a fantastic method. One thing with hills, is if you find a good one, it will break you down. It builds determination," explained Randle. "I run 15 hills a day and look to conquer them. You just have to keep driving and accelerate your arms and improve your stride efficiency. I tell myself if I can do this, I can do anything," concluded Randle.
Working alongside Adrian Peterson is one of Randle's luxuries and he certainly will be ready for the challenge to provide relief to one of the greatest running backs in NFL history.
"It's a pleasure being around AP, to see the types of things he is thinking and to be able to ask questions and get advice," acknowledged Randle.
"Meeting the new coaching staff and meeting the new players that we have coming in is nothing but excitement. We will be able to showcase the talent we have and the new talent we have added," Randle said.
With a new coaching staff entering the fold and the fiery personality of Mike Zimmer entering the Vikings, Randle is excited to see what this team can produce, but he knows he will need to step up.
"You have to take it one step at a time. I've been working on improving my overall game. Each practice we have, I want to showcase my skills and talent. Working out every day and every night is just like repetition," explained Randle.
"I want them to let me show what I have been doing. I haven't been sitting around, I've been working out and I want to show as much as possible. When it comes down to making decisions, I want them to say we can't cut this guy out, because look at what does, what he can do, and what his potential can be," added Randle.
He knows along with a new coaching staff, comes new responsibilities and different philosophies that will be implemented in the full body of work. Randle will need to show he can compete and play at a high level, but by training and continuing to improve everyday, he can do what he does on a daily basis.
Randle actually has several connections on the new Vikings coaching staff and he will be reunited with several people he has met throughout his career. Andre Patterson, new defensive line coach, recruited Bradley Randle when he entered the college ranks at UNLV.
"Not too many people know about this. Coach P, recruited me at UNLV, he is a great guy. I'm happy the Vikings put him on the staff. I just can't wait to get up there, to meet him and give him a big hug and tell him, UNLV, I'm here," boasted Randle.
"Coach Patterson is an overall good guy and the big boys are going to like him too. He is going to expect a lot out of you. I can't wait to shake his hand and tell him my story before camp starts," stated Randle.
He will be working closely with California native and new running back coach Kirby Wilson this season and he is looking forward to adding his coaching expertise to his repertoire.
"I just want to ask him a couple questions and see how it was for his career and share some football stories. I'm excited to meet the whole coaching staff because everybody is there for a reason and I think it will show in the upcoming season," Randle explained.
During his short tenure with the Vikings, Randle has developed a connection with Vikings fans and with over 1,813 followers and a recently verified account, he loves the fan support. The most evident item you will notice when you tour his Twitter account, is the genuine connection he makes with his fans and the unbridled support he provides his team.
"The Vikings fan base has diehards fans. To embrace that and be a part of it and see the reason why and the purpose is special. No matter the outcome of the games, the fans stick with you and not only want to see you succeed on the field, but in life," replied Randle.
"I'm thankful the fans were more comfortable being around me. Asking me questions, or to sign stuff, and being around those type of people is a blessing for me. The fans are passionate, loyal, and loving and they know how to get loud and rowdy," marveled Randle.
Randle wants to make his fans proud, while representing his family, friends, and teammates to the best of his abilities. This is a refreshing omen for many fans who are searching for a role model for their children to follow and emulate. He embraces the fact that he can help bring back to the community and help others reach their dreams.
"I think with the position and the blessing I'm in right now, it's a good thing. Telling people no matter what comes at you, no matter what adversity you face, or what people say, if you set your mind to something you will be able to accomplish anything."
Randle is ready for the challenge and knows by working hard each and every day, while having faith, he can make the contribution and the leap needed to play in the NFL.
When I asked him about his goals for the 2014 season, he responded with a determined demeanor.
"My goal for me personally, is to make the 53-man roster, that's one of the big ones I want to accomplish. I know to do that, it's timing, heart, and dedication. I want to be one of those guys that when they step on the field, they dominate anything and everything."