Rashod Hill will see some familiar faces across from him during Saturday’s preseason game at U.S. Bank Stadium.
Hill started his NFL career with the Jaguars, who gave him a chance as an undrafted rookie in 2016. The native of Jacksonville spent six-and-a-half months with his hometown team before the Vikings snagged him off the Jaguars practice squad in November.
Since joining the Vikings, Hill has become not only part of the active roster, but he started seven games in 2017. Saturday’s contest will mark his first time playing against his former team after reuniting with them for joint practices yesterday and today.
“It’s going to be real good competing with them,” Hill said. “Our defense is a top-five defense, they’ve also got a top-five defense, so it’s good to go against competition like that to make you better.”
Hill said he expects a little talking back and forth.
“They’re some chippy guys, and they like to have fun, like to talk mess,” Hill said with a laugh. “You know, it’s good to catch up with people that you had your first opportunity with.
“I know those guys there, but this is where I’m at now,” Hill added. “This is my family. This is my brotherhood.”
We caught up with Hill for a Timeout:
Q: How would you say your game has most improved heading into the 2018 season?
A: I think my game has improved the most with take-off from the ball. Last year I was a little heavier, and I lost a little weight. I had a conversation with the coaches, we talked about it, and they feel like under 320 is a good weight for me so I can move better. It’s been helping me out. So just trimming down a little bit more, if I know that can help the team and contribute to the team, I’m all with it.
Q: What were the biggest changes you made to arrive at your ideal weight?
A: The biggest thing was avoiding snacks late at night. I’m a big snack guy, I’ve always been my whole life. I try not to eat anything past 7:30 or 8 now, but if I do, it’s healthy snacks like rice cakes that I know are good and have less calories. ... Then when I’m up here at the facility, I try to eat a lot of stuff with greens in it – I’ll have eggs and spinach. I’ve never had spinach before – but you know, I’m trying it out. It’s not that bad. [I had to learn that] you’re burning more calories through the day; at night, you’re not burning many calories. I had it backwards. I would say, ‘I’ll eat more at night.’ Now I eat a big lunch and a small dinner. That’s how I do it.
Q: What is it like practicing against the Vikings defense every day?
A: (Laughing) They’re going to cause a lot of problems for offensive coordinators this year. It’s a bunch of guys out there who play with a chip on their shoulder, who love to go out there and compete and just love to go out there and grind. Those guys, they don’t take plays off. … They’re always competing, and they’re always going at it. We feed each off each other as a D-line and O-line. They’ll say, ‘OK, I got you with that move because you did this.’ We try to help each other out. We’re not independent operators. We all help each other, the offense and defense, which I love.
Q: How does being a husband and a father to two daughters, 3 and 7, impact your perspective on the field?
A: First of all, I know I’m providing for my family. I always live my life by God, family and then football, which is my job right now. My family is the most important thing to me. My wife, my two little girls, to have them out there with me [at training camp] is amazing. They’re always laughing and joking around. When I come home and, you know, it’s not always going to be a great day at work, so when you go home, everything like that just goes out the back of your mind, and all I see are my little girls when they run to me and smile. My little 3-year-old, she just goes crazy when she sees me. If I had a bad day, or even if I had a good day, when I go home and see my kids, they always brighten my day.
They’ve got me wrapped around their finger. … They’re my girls, and I love them. And my wife, she’s always there supporting me. I’m glad I’ve got the family I’ve got. I’m out here every day – I love the game, I love playing football, and I love being around my family.