Vikings Offensive Lineman Garrett Bradbury’s Introductory Press Conference
Vikings General Manger Rick Spielman
We talked a lot last night about Garrett, not only what he's going to do for us on the field but also what he brings to us off the field, as well, the leadership, the passion for the game, the intelligence, everything we look for in how we've built this roster over the past couple of years. His father Tim came in with him today, as well, and look forward -- I told Garrett, we haven't had a lot of conversation with him at all since probably my time with him at the Senior Bowl, and we had him in at the combine and interviewed him, and may have had a few quick chats here or there, but I knew once we got through the combine that he was the type of player we wanted. And then as we went into our draft meetings the last couple weeks, when everybody came together, the coaches, the scouts, Coach Zim, myself and read our reports on him, there was no question that we got a heck of a football player. With that, I'll bring up Coach Zim.
Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer
Okay, like we said last night, we're very, very excited about having Garrett here. As far as the zone scheme running style that we're going to use, I know that you probably saw a lot of the highlights of him being able to reach three techniques and cut off nose tackles and all those things, trying to create separation and seams down the field. He's a very good athlete, great balance. Probably more importantly, a great person. So we're excited to have him here.
Vikings Offensive Lineman Garrett Bradbury
It's kind of been a crazy 24 hours. I'm just super thankful for everyone here, the Wilf family, Coach. I mean, it's just been awesome. Hearing more about the history of this great organization, the culture that it has here, I just can't wait to play football again really. Four months has been a lot of steps in this process, not a lot of football, though. So I'm excited to get on the field, meet my new teammates and get to work with them.
*Q. We just talked to your college coach and he said he thought you made a big jump once they moved you to center. What was it about that move that allowed you to become the player that you are?
*A: I think it was just for our room, it was a good fit. I felt really comfortable. From a communication standpoint, I really knew the offense well, and the guys I played next to trusted me with that responsibility. And so just all five of us played really well together. It just worked really well for us. We ran the ball really well and protected the quarterback.
Q. He also mentioned before you got to the offensive line, leaving the tight end position, you had a stop on the defensive line. Where did you play and what did you take from that experience? A: Yeah, so it was about eight months. At the bowl game my redshirt year, Coach was like, hey, there's going to be injuries, there's going to be graduating players. We kind of need some defensive linemen. I played it in high school. I was like, sure, and Ryan Nielsen was the coach, who's one of the greatest coaches I've ever been around. And he really straightened me out in terms of where my focus needed to be, and so I spent basically January to August with them, and we had a great defensive line, four guys drafted last year. And so working with them, competing with them in the weight room and conditioning, I got a lot better on and off the field.
I didn't play defensive line, but those eight months were pivotal in my career and the player I am now. And then day one of training camp Coach Doeren called me in his office and said, hey, we're now moving you to O-line. So that was kind of how that happened.
*Q. What did you know about the history of Vikings and the culture before you were drafted by them and what have you learned now in the last 18 hours?
*A: Yeah, learned a lot more. Can't wait to continue to learn more, just about how much history it has, how many former great players there are, current great players, and just looking forward to winning ballgames again.
*Q. A center has to be a leader on the offensive line. How comfortable would you be in that role as a rookie?
*A: I mean, you've got to earn the guys' respect first. No one is going to listen to a rookie coming in barking orders trying to lead anyone. So I'm just going to come in and work. That's what I've always done, whether it's a freshman or a senior, now I'm going to be a rookie. I'm just going to come in, work, earn the guys' respect, compete, and figure out my role and maximize it to the best of my ability.
*Q. You mentioned him by name last night, but what kind of impact did Dwayne Ledford have on your development?
*A: Huge. I love Coach Ledford. He was awesome, great mentor. Played in the league for about six, seven years. And so he taught me so much about what I needed to do preparation-wise on and off the field. He knows the game better than a lot of people out there, knows the wide zone system, which is what we ran. I think we were the best in the country at wide zone in my opinion because of him, how he coached it, how he coached us to protect the quarterback.
He brought a new level of pride to that position room that I don't think was there at NC State before, and I think as you've seen, more guys coming out, getting drafted on the offensive line from NC State, he's definitely helped change that program.
*Q. There were I think four ACC defensive linemen drafted in the first round last night before you. What kind of a preparatory test, I guess, is that when you're facing that level of competition in that conference to get ready for the NFL?
*A: Are you talking about our defensive line?
Q. No, facing those guys from the ACC, guys from Clemson –
A: Oh, the ACC, yeah, it's huge. You want to go against the best. You want to go against the biggest guys. That's any competitor, wants to show what he's got against everyone. Got some good competition, had the best competition in my opinion against our own defensive line, which I loved the most. I think that's where we got a lot better as an O-line, going against our D-line where we had those four guys drafted. Had some great battles with them over the years and now looking forward to having some battles at this level.
*Q. How do you feel like your athleticism contributed to your being such a clean player, least penalized on your team?
*A: Yeah, it's huge. We do a lot of work with technique, and our strength staff does a phenomenal job in terms of strength and speed. A lot of coaches helped me get where I am and our offensive line.
Q. What would you say your biggest strength is? Is it your strength, your smarts or your technique?
A: Choose one of those three? I feel like I'm a competitor. I'm a football player. I love to play the game. I think you see that when you watch the film. And I found a home on the offensive line. I love everything about the position, playing next to other guys, trusting them. Just, I don't know, I think being a competitor really.
*Q. Your college so much said that being a coach is something you might aspire to do at some point. Where did that inspiration come from?
*A: So the summer after my -- the 2016 season, I got an internship with Lenovo, thinking I was going to go into the supply chain of business, and it was a good internship, did pretty well, and left that summer like, I've got to stay around football-minded people the rest of my life. Nothing against them, I just think my calling is through sports, through football specifically, and so from then I was like, I'm going to make it in the NFL, and then after that or if that doesn't work out for some reason, I'm going to coach. I just love being around locker rooms, I love being around football guys. I don't know, it's just kind of my decision I made. I'm running with it.
*Q. You talked about having to come in and try to get the respect of the veterans. What kind of things do you need to do to do that, and what did you do successfully to get everybody's respect when you kind of came in at NC State and then took over at center?
*A: I mean, I think you just need to keep your mouth shut and go to work, show those guys why you're there, and just -- I mean, I think the respect will come. You've just got to earn it through the way you work. I'm looking forward to that. Just that's going to come with time, so I'm looking forward to it.
Q. Baseball was your first love? I read you wanted to be a shortstop for the Yankees.
A: Yeah, that would have been cool, but I think I'd rather be an O-lineman for the Vikings at this point.
Q. What position?
*Q. After all those position switches, was there a point your junior or senior year when center kind of felt like a natural spot for you?
*A: I think offensive line started to feel like a natural spot. I think my biggest attraction to it was you don't come off the field, and that's what I was used to in high school, playing offense and defense, and at tight end, you might have gotten 20 snaps a game at the most with their different packages. But I don't want to come off the field. I love to play football, and wherever that is on the offensive line, I don't care, I just know we don't rotate. That's something we pride ourselves in. I think it's just more comfort at that position. I found a home from.
*Q. How have you remained so durable throughout your career? How have you been able to stay on the field?
*A: I think prehab and the things you do off the field is huge in terms of taking care of your body and diet. That's something I've taken a lot more seriously this past year. Understanding like what you put into your body, the things you're doing, extracurricular, whether extra stretching or correctives, something that we've taken at NC State, just put a lot of importance in, and I think my body has thanked me for it, and I think that's a big reason why durability has been good.
*Q. What has it been like having your family a part of this process, whether it was being with them last night or having your dad here today, just what does that mean to you?
*A: It's everything. This is their day as much as it is mine. They've done everything for me my whole life, helped me get where I am, and there's no one else I'd rather share it with than friends and family I was with last night and obviously my dad being here today.
Q. When you look at this offense, what excites you about joining this group?
A: Yeah, everything. I mean, talking to coaches today, learning about the system, can't wait to get in the playbook, learn the installs. It's going to be a lot of fun.
*Q. After last night walking around this facility today, has it sunk in yet? Has it hit you that the moment is –
*A: No. I'm just trying to soak it all in. Touring the facilities today was unbelievable. This place is absolutely unbelievable. It's awesome. I can't wait to spend as much time here. It's just -- I love our facility at NC State. Spent a lot of time there, and I can't wait to do the same here. This place is unbelievable. It's awesome.
*Q. How long did it take you to really become comfortable with the techniques given all the different position switches you made?
*A: How long did it take to become -- I mean, it just comes with time. I think my biggest step was about two years ago when I started to take practice way more seriously. I mean, you just -- at offensive line you have to get full-speed reps, and a saying that we had was game day is just a reflection of your habits, and so you weren't going to do anything on Saturdays that you hadn't done before in practice, and so I think as an offensive line we started to take practice really seriously. Coach Ledford was big in that. And just working hard. That's what it boils down to.
Q. Can you just kind of describe what that moment was like getting the call last night, knowing it was the Vikings and knowing where you were going to be drafted, just what that moment was like? A: Yeah, I couldn't really tell you. There was a lot of emotions. It was unbelievable. The phone rang, and I just kind of blanked out from there on. Heart was pounding. It was just so much hard work, so many people that have invested in me. Truly a dream come true. Kind of speechless.
Q. Are you a good student in the classroom, too?
Q. What's your major? How do you do in class? GPA, that sort of thing.
A: Business supply chain was my major. I had a 3.6 and just got a graduate certificate in youth development and leadership.
*Q. What does it mean when you hear Coach Zimmer and Rick talking about obviously your on-field performance but then how much they appreciate your character and your off-the-field performance, as well?
*A: Yeah, you love to hear that an organization appreciates that. That's huge, and I think it's just a testament to my parents. I think it's a testament to the mentors I've had in my life that helped me become the man I am today. But it's huge. When you come to a place and culture and character is preached, that goes a long way. And so I'm super -- I couldn't be more excited to be part of an organization that values that.