News | Minnesota Vikings – vikings.com

Park Center Alum Amani Hooker Explains Versatility at Combine

armani-hooker-story-030419

Minneapolis native Amani Hooker helped close down the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine on Monday.

Hooker participated with safeties in on-field drills on the final day of the annual event and performed well in multiple events, clocking the second-fastest time in the 3-cone drill among safeties (6.81 seconds).

He ranked fourth among safeties in the 20-yard and 60-yard shuttle runs with times of 4.10 seconds and 11.59 seconds and fifth in the vertical jump (37 inches).

Hooker also tied for eighth in the 40-yard dash (4.48 seconds) and broad jump (10 feet, 3 inches).

Prior to hitting the field, the former Iowa Hawkeye participated in media interviews Sunday. He described his versatility and how his game has been influenced by his time in Iowa City.

View NFL Scouting Combine drills with defensive backs on Monday.

Hooker said he can play wherever for a team “whether it’s safety, corner or the nickel position.”

One can look no further than his 2018 season when he earned the Big Ten’s Tatum-Woodson Defensive Back of the Year award and was named Second-Team All-America by The Associated Press and USA TODAY.

Hooker started the season at strong safety before shifting to outside linebacker, giving him experience in coverage and near the line of scrimmage. He tied for the team lead with four interceptions and seven pass breakups and ranked second on the Hawkeyes with 65 tackles.

“It was a challenging transition, but I had a lot of fun, took to pride in it,” Hooker explained. “[Defensive backs] Coach Phil Parker gave me a lot of trust, and I think I earned that trust with him throughout the season, and it ended up being an asset for us.”

He said the role increased his football IQ.

“It helped me learn different aspects of the game, especially from that linebacker position, that linebacker spot and also the linebackers in general and also learning my run fits in the run game and knowing where the D-linemen are supposed to be,” Hooker said.

Hooker additionally was asked about fellow Hawkeyes combine invitees Noah Fant and T.J. Hockenson, who delivered impressive performances with the tight ends on Saturday. He pointed out that he also faced 49ers tight end George Kittle on the practice field at Iowa. Kittle was a fifth-round pick by San Francisco in 2017 and garnered his first Pro Bowl selection last season.

“I went against George Kittle my freshman year, Noah and T.J. throughout the whole three years I was there, so I think I got a good experience in guarding tight ends,” Hooker said.

Versatility was nothing new for Hooker, who played quarterback, receiver, running back and defensive back for Park Center and was a 2015 finalist for Mr. Football in Minnesota.

Advertising