SATURDAY, APRIL 30, 2011
Vikings Defensive Back Mistral Raymond
Q: How much contact did you have with the Vikings before you were drafted?
A: They flew me out for a visit in March. I was there for two days and it was a great experience. I had the opportunity to sit down and meet one-on-one with a lot of the guys in the organization. And like I said, it was a great experience for me personally. Other than that, I hadn’t heard too much from them afterwards, but I heard from them at the right time.
Q: You came in as a walk-on, after the tragedy with your family, how did being away from home during that incident affect you?
A: There’s one of two ways you can look at it. My first instinct was to look at it like I should have been there for my family, and I should have been there to protect them. But then again, as my grandmother told me, had I been there, maybe I would have done something trying to be heroic, going out of my way and maybe gotten myself injured or possibly killed. So I think everything happens for a reason. You know it was just a situation that made me a lot stronger as a person. It kind of influenced me to make the decision I had made to come home and be closer to my family, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions I made in my entire life.
Q: What are your emotions right now, with being drafted as well as your sister being killed a couple of weeks ago?
A: Just having my family here with me, having them see my name come across the screen and seeing the excitement that it brought them, I think it was a relief for all of us. It helped me realize what type of position that the Lord has put me in. He has blessed me to be an outlet for my family. For them to have excitement no matter what at any given time of the day. It’s just a great feeling for me personally, and I’m very grateful to be in the position I’m in.
Q: When you first arrived at school, did you always have the goal to get to the NFL?
A: Definitely, the funny thing is, in childhood, college was the most exciting thing for me. I love college football’s atmosphere. My goal growing up was the NFL, but I know to get to the NFL you need to go through college, so college was my number one goal. Once I got there, I started feeling the energy and seeing how things worked out. I definitely focused my attention on the NFL. It’s something I’ve always believed I was destined for. As humbly as I could possibly say it, it’s kind of something I believe was for me. I was just walking the path that was laid out for me.
Q: Was it difficult to be a walk-on when you were getting scholarship offers elsewhere?
A: It was the easiest decision I could have made. Once that stuff happened with my family, there was no second guessing it. I was full throttle and I was all in behind my decision. I had some people support me with that decision. Like I said, it turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: I think I’m a guy that plays a lot off of instincts. I just have a great feel for the game. I’ve studied the game in-depth. I think that is something that helps me on the field. I think playing the cornerback position at my size, I think I bring some intangibles. Guys aren’t used to seeing someone my size line up across the ball from them. My physical structure helps me. I’m the type of guy that loves to bring energy to the field. It’s something about when I feel the energy and the crowd is in to it, it really accelerates my play. It’s something I take pride in, getting the fans involved. I just feel whenever I’m on the field, it’s a good situation for my team.
Q: Are you a guy who can play both corner and safety?
A: I’m a defensive back. I play corner, I play free safety, strong safety, I was our team’s nickel for two years so I can play any position in the secondary. Wherever I can get on the field and help the defense and overall the team I’m definitely going to work towards doing that.
Q: Do you get a sense of where the Vikings want to put you yet?
A: When I was up for the visit we talked primarily about corner but I know that if there was a need or interest in me playing safety that wouldn’t be an issue for me. It’s something I feel comfortable with. I’m definitely looking forward to playing the cornerback position first, definitely looking forward to getting some snaps at nickel inside a little bit. Like I said, if they need me to move back to safety that is something that I would be open to doing.
Q: Considering what you have gone through in the past, what has enabled you to get to this point?
A: With everything I’ve gone through, the thing about it is football has always been the thing that has kept me grounded. It always kept my head level despite everything I’ve gone through. I could always get on the football field and forget about everything and just play the game. It’s something that I found at an early age that I had an extreme passion for and it’s carried me this far and I’m excited to see how far it will carry me in the future.
Q: Does today kind of validate everything that you have put into football?
A: Absolutely. I always knew it would have. It’s definitely a milestone for me. It’s something I worked so hard for all my life to accomplish and having the opportunity to be drafted is so special. Regardless of not being drafted I would have looked at it the same way not being drafted. Just having the opportunity is what is special. You just have to make the best of it and when you get an opportunity to get on the field you got to be yourself and give your best effort. That’s something I look forward to doing.
Q: Were you confident you were going to get drafted?
A: It’s hard to say. I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure how to feel. The past few days have been an emotional roller coaster. I’ve been up, I’ve been down, I’ve been hearing this, hearing that. The thing is, I just don’t pay too much attention to that stuff. I just focus on the things I can focus on and the things I can control. I had done all I could. I had done all the running. I had done all the jumping, the catching and the film. The film speaks for itself. Like I said, regardless of where I can get my foot in the door, once I get my foot in the door, you just find someone to show you around the house then. That’s what I look forward to, getting in and getting under some of those veterans and just learning from guys like
Q: Do you feel like you had to grow up faster than most?
A: Yeah, it’s just the way I was raised. It wasn’t just a situation where I had to cut the lights on at a certain point and time. I grew up in a house with so many siblings and with my sisters and my nieces and no father figure so I always had to be the man of the house so it is something that is second nature to me, just being mature and trying to show people a better way of living life and doing things the right way.
Q: What was your primary position as a senior?
A: As a senior, my primary position was corner. I started 11 games at corner and I started one game at safety.
Q: Did you play outside in the base defense and the inside in the nickel?
A: Yeah, I played outside at corner and when we brought in our nickel package I would just slide inside to the nickel position.
Q: Who’s your agent?
A: My agent is Adam Heller and Melvin Bratton, who is a former running back the University of Miami.