April 26, 2019 04:03 PM
Last night, surrounded by his family and friend, Garrett Bradbury got the phone call that changed his life - Vikings general manager Rick Spielman was on the line informing him he'd be the 18th overall pick in the NFL Draft.
"Lotta emotions," Bradbury admitted Friday in his introductory press conference. "The phone rang, I kinda blanked out from there on. My heart was pounding. There was so much hard work, so many people invested in me. It's truly a dream come true."
Shortly after the call, the pick was officially declared on the NFL Draft stage in Nashville. 18 hours later, Bradbury was in his new hometown holding up his new Vikings jersey at his official introduction.
Click the video box on this page to watch Garrett Bradbury's official introductory press conference with the Minnesota Vikings
"It's kinda been a crazy 24 hours," Bradbury said to open his first comments as a Vikings. "It's been awesome hearing more about the history of the organization, the culture."
"I just can't wait to play football again, really. It's been four months, a lot of steps, but not a lot of football. I'm excited to get on the field, meet teammates and get to work with them."
Bradbury is already penciled in as a starter somewhere on the Vikings offensive line - either center or guard - for this coming season. He'll take a cautious confidence into his first offseason program.
"Gotta earn respect," he said. "Nobody wants a rookie barking orders. I'm gonna come in and work. Whether I was a freshman, senior or now a rookie, I'm gonna earn respect, compete, and maximize my ability."
"You need to keep your mouth shut and go to work and show guys why you're there. Respect will come. Gotta earn it though work. I'm looking forward to that."
Asked what he considers to be his biggest strength, Bradbury said, "I feel I'm a competitor... a football player. I love to play the game. You can see it in the film. I love offensive line, everything about the position. It's playing with other guys, trusting them... being a competitor, really."
After the Vikings pick, Mike Zimmer said Bradbury's positional flexibiilty was a prime reason they selected him. After coming out of high school as a tight end, Bradbury moved around the offensice line at North Carolina State - even spending an offseason preparing to play defensive line.
"It was for 8 months," he explained. "At the bowl game my redshirt (freshman) year, coach said there are some injures, graduations and we need defensive linemen. I played in HS so I said, 'Sure'."
"I spent January to August with them. We had a great defensive line. We had four guys drafted last year. Competing with them and working out, I got better on and off the field. I didn't play defensive line, but those 8 months were pivotal in my career to the player I am. Day one of camp, coach brought me in and said, "We're moving you to O-line'."
Bradbury played baseball as a kid and was a big New York Yankees fan. He admits he dreamt of playing for them someday, but also that the dream has changed.
"It woulda been cool," he said. "But I'd rather be an offensive lineman for the Vikings now."
It isn't the first time Bradbury's love of football forced a change of heart.
"The summer after the 2016 season I interned w Lenovo - thinking I'd be going in to supply chain," he explained. "It was a good internship, but I left that summer thinking, 'I have to stay around football the rest of my life'. It's nothing against them. My calling is sports, football. I decided I'm gonna make it in the NFL and if that doesn't work, I’ll coach. I Iove being in locker rooms and around football guys. It's the decision I made and I went with it."
Bradbury's first on-field activity with the Vikings will be at rookie camp starting Friday, May 3rd.
Updated: April 26, 2019 04:03 PM
Created: April 26, 2019 03:49 PM
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