In a league of secrecy, the Minnesota Vikings have made no bones about the fact that they will play a zone running scheme this season.
If there was any question about it after hiring Gary Kubiak, the Vikings made it 100 percent clear when they drafted center Garrett Bradbury, whose strengths match up well with running zone concepts.
“I think it’s a perfect fit,” Bradbury said following the team’s rookie minicamp practice on Friday. “When you’re hoping to get drafted, you’re hoping that, one, it’s as high as possible and two it’s a great fit. More importantly great fit. I think with this system it’s a lot of similar stuff as what we did in college. A lot of similar coaching just a little bit more detail with some things. I’m really excited about the fit and the scheme.”
Head coach Mike Zimmer would not comment on whether Bradbury would start at center or guard, where he started one season at North Carolina State. Pat Elflein has started at center since being drafted in the third round in 2017.
“You’re not going to make it in this league long if you can’t play multiple positions,” Bradbury said. “Just learning the interior three is kind of where I’m going to find a home. Working those three, learning the system. It’s not just learning one position, it’s the whole play, running backs, tight ends, everything.”
The Vikings’ rookie got plenty of work as a zone run blocker with the Wolfpack. Last year NC State ran 37 times per game for an average of 143 yards. They scored 27 touchdowns on the ground — one of which belonged to Bradbury.
“He is outstanding with his quickness,” NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah said following the Vikings’ selection. “You go back and look at guys he reminds you of, you look at Jason Kelce and Ryan Kalil. He’s that type of center. Quickness is off the charts.”
At the NFL Combine, Bradbury posted a 40-yard dash in the 97th percentile, a 3-cone drill score in the 91st and 20-yard shuttle in the 87th.