A Year after making the Minnesota Vikings practice squad roster, former Augustana running back CJ Ham is now looking to make the transition to a starting NFL fullback. It's a change that starts with his knowledge of the playbook, and ends with his physicality.
"Playing fullback, you have to be a strong guy, so kind of, my approach was the same. Get stronger, get as big as possible without putting on too much weight, and being out here, and knowing what I'm supposed to do, and just having that year under my belt of being in the system and being around these type of players - so I'm just confident," Vikings Fullback CJ Ham said
"He's doing a good job of knowing where to be and all that stuff, you know, the big question with him is how will he handle the physicality part of playing that position, and you know, when he gets in there, and you know, we he gets in there with the 9-on-7 and things like that and the pads on he's got to go hit Barr, and you know - we'll find out," Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer said.
One of Ham's key attributes is his skill set. He can run the rock in short yardage, catch out of the backfield, and block downfeild as well.
"I like to look at myself like that - having the running back skills is definitely going to help me in the future, and make me more valuable,"
"CJ is a big physical guy, so he does bring the physicality of a fullback, but he also brings the mindset of a running back, he understands what runnings back are looking for, and he can also run the ball himself. So, um, he just bring a lot to that position" Vikings Wide Receiver Jarius Wright said
"You know I think he understands the right guys to get on and all that, and you know, he can carry the ball a little bit too since he has done that in the past so," Zimmer said.
Now in year two, Ham has earned the respect of his teammates through his work ethic and physicality.
"One thing I love about watching Ham - not just on the field but in the off-season - is just how hard he works, he is a hard workers. He is in there everyday pretty much giving it everything he has. So, definitely a lot of respect for him the way he plays - very physical - so a ton of respect for that guy," Vikings Safety Harrison Smith said.
For now, CJs focus remain on improving each day and showing the Vikes that he's worth a spot on the 53-man roster.
"Coming out here and learning, and doing the best that I can do. I'm not looking for - I'm not looking towards the future, I'm looking to right now. I still need to earn my spot, and make myself valuable to this team," Ham said.