Daniel House caught up with Vikings running back Matt Asiata and asked how he has become one of the most improved players on the roster.
Updated: July 30th, 2014 1:55pm
By: Daniel House
Matt Asiata has been the man to fill the shoes of one of the greatest running backs to ever play the game. When Adrian Peterson falls with any injury, Asiata is the man called upon to take his reps. His breakout game came against Philadelphia last year, when he rushed for 51 yards and three touchdowns during Peterson's absence.
Asiata enters his third season in Minnesota and he is excited to be back in Mankato for Vikings training camp.
"It feels great to be back out here and with the guys. Obivously, I hate leaving my family, but this is what I've got to do to put food on the table,"Asiata said.
This is the first time Asiata has witnessed a coaching change during his three-year career and he likes what he sees from Mike Zimmer's coaching staff. The biggest change seems to be the intensity and the hype that surrounds the new coaching group. Asiata likes this change and feels it will help the success of the 2014 Minnesota Vikings.
"Everything is so hyped. You feel alive. You want to practice for Coach Zimmer. You want to come out here and perform. Everything is just exciting outside. With all of the new coaching staff coming in, it feels great," smiled Asiata.
Many have discussed the changes in Asiata's body structure and his new refined frame. He has dropped roughly 10-15 pounds and he has been focusing on becoming a more explosive attack, especially in Norv Turner's new offensive scheme.
"Mainly just explosiveness, trying to eat right, and trying to slim down," Asiata explained.
Along with that, he is trying to become a leader that the rookies can look up to when they need help.
"This training camp is not easy. We've got to show the rookies what training camp is like and obviously, Adrian is that pinnacle guy to show us what to do,"Asiata added.
The Vikings hired new running backs Kirby Wilson to the coaching staff when the group was assembled in January. Asiata is excited about the energy Wilson brings to the position group and the type of fundamentals coach he is on the field.
"Kirby, he's an exciting dude, he's always hyped up in the meeting rooms, trying to get us right before practice and I love that way he coaches. He's down to earth, he's right on point, he tells us what do and what is wrong and what's right and try to apply it on the field," Asiata smiled.
When asked about the role he is looking to fill in Norv Turner's system, Asiata's eyes beamed. He is excited to be utilized in a variety of ways, especially out of the backfield.
"I'm ready, I take full pride in my hands out of the backfield. That's something Norv Turner liked about me, just catching it out of the backfield and just whatever he throws at me, I'm going to try to go out and accomplish it," Asiata said.
Asiata has been seeing snaps with the second-team and is looking forward to supplanting Adrian Peterson on third down. Asiata likes the new energy surrounding this team and is ready to fill any role necessary with the Vikings offense.
"Just help the team as much as I can. Just go out there play offense, play special teams, or whatever they want me to do. Just try to help the team win,"Asiata concluded.
Below is the audio version of my interview with Vikings running back Matt Asiata: