Garrett Bradbury grew up playing baseball, primarily at catcher.
Behind the plate, Bradbury learned leadership skills, which he's transferred to playing center for the Vikings.
"I like the control of it, the authority you have in terms of commanding the offense, commanding the huddle, commanding the O-line," Bradbury said. "[It's] similar to catcher; you're behind the plate, you get the ball every play … I definitely think baseball helped me in football."
Similar to a catcher and pitcher, Bradbury added he's developed a strong bond with quarterback Kirk Cousins.
"I've learned so much from him," Bradbury said. "He's been an unbelievable leader and man, and every single day I learn something new. It's been awesome to be as close as I am with him and get to work with him."
We sat down recently for a Water Break presented by Crown Royal.
Q: You've started all 51 games you've played for the Vikings and became the first player in team history to start 16 games at center as a rookie. Just what goes into that "ironman" mentality and how much pride do you take in being able to be relied on game in and game out?
A: "My head coach in college (N.C. State's Dave Doeren), something big for him was, 'The best ability is availability.' Just being able to be out there practicing, getting the reps with the guys, especially at O-line. You need to bank those reps and combination blocks together, so I think that's something as a room we all pride ourselves in. It's just doing what you need to do throughout the week to get your body ready, staying as healthy as you can."
Q: You were originally a tight end and defensive lineman in high school and a tight end at N.C. State. How did you end up switching to offensive line?
A: "My first year as a tight end at N.C. State, I had shoulder surgery then put on some weight, and Coach Doeren asked me if I wanted to move to D-line, so I moved to D-line for a little bit in college. And then there were some holes on the O-line; [Doeren] promised me a lot of reps in training camp, and he kind of made the decision for me and it's worked out."
Q: You won the Rimington Trophy your senior year at N.C. State. How special was it to be recognized as the top center in college football that year?
A: "It was cool to share that with my O-line teammates at N.C. State because there's not really individual awards on the O-line because my guards and tackles helped me out a lot. My coaches, [Run Game Coordinator/Offensive Line Coach Dwayne] Ledford and [offensive graduate assistant Shawn] Flaherty were awesome, so it was cool to — although it's an individual award — share that with the guys who helped me get there."
Q: What went into your decision to study business supply operations management at N.C. State?
A: "I wanted to get a business degree, and my dad's been in business his whole life. I felt like there's a big need for supply chains just with the way the world is moving, and I just went with it. It was probably a good call; I'm glad I got the business degree for sure."
Q: What's your take on the current supply chain issues?
A: "Yeah, there's been a lot of nightmares, so hopefully there's some more people with that degree getting into that field to help out."
View the best photos of Vikings C Garrett Bradbury from the 2021 season.
Q: What do you remember from catching the deflected pass and gaining 21 yards last year at Green Bay?
A: "It was pretty surreal, I kind of blacked out during the play. I wish that play could have helped us toward the game. It was a tough day for the team, but that was a pretty fun play to be able to help the team out in a little different way than I usually do."
Q: Your father, Tim was a Vikings fan growing up in Seattle. What was that moment like for your family when you got drafted by Minnesota?
A: "It was a pretty special day. After draft day, [the Vikings] flew me and my dad up here and getting to experience that with him — I know he met Chuck Foreman while he was here and came to see the facilities with him for the first time — I'll never forget that day."
Q: Besides Ed Ingram, everybody on the O-line has been here in Minnesota multiple years. How have you guys been able to build that chemistry as a group?
A: "I think having chemistry as an O-line is so important. People don't realize how important it is. I think the closer you are to the guy next to you, the harder you're going to play for him, and we have such a good room. We're so close; we're all best friends; we're neighbors; we hang out with each other all the time; we get on Xbox together and hang out. It's non-stop, but you've got to like the guy if you're going to spend 12 hours a day all year with them. [Offensive line coach Chris] Kuper and [assistant offensive line coach Justin] Rascati do a good job with that because there's a lot that goes on throughout the season. Some highs, some lows, and you've got to rely on the guy next to you throughout it."
Q: Speaking of your coaches, what has the relationship been like with them so far?
A: "It's been unbelievable. Kuper's [played] in the league. He's been in our shoes; he's been in our seats; he's done it at a very high level. I think when he speaks, when he coaches, he's coaching from experience, so you listen and you take it just with a little bit more emphasis. Coach Rascati, he's a quarterback by trade, but he's spent some years with the O-line, and he gives us a little bit different perspective. He's as dialed in as an assistant line coach that I've been around. They've been great for our room. With a new coach, you never really know what to expect, but I felt like we jelled right away and it's been an awesome room to be a part of."
Q: You went to the same high school as Golden State Warriors point guard Steph Curry [Charlotte Christian]. Were you able to watch him play in high school?
A: "I wasn't. I actually didn't attend the school when he was there, but his younger sister Sydel was the grade above me, good friends with my wife. It's been awesome to see the success he's had. It's a pretty small school, there's probably about 90 kids per grade, but there's quite a few athletes that have been pumped out of there. We've got someone on the Korn Ferry [Tour], David Kocher. We've got baseball players, football, basketball. It's pretty impressive. So I just cheer for those guys and everything they do."