Vikings rookie Bradley Randle carries a 'Hulk' mentality
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MANKATO, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings rookie running back Bradley Randle's first tweet was at fullback Jerome Felton on May 2, asking if he'd be at the rookie mini camp.
Three months later, Randle, who admitted he's not privy to social media, has nearly 1,000 tweets, more than 1,000 followers, but follows nearly 2,000 people -- most of which are Vikings fans.
"I recently discovered Twitter and now I'm a Twitterer," Randle said. "It's just something for the fans to look at and get to see what I'm doing and who I'm with. I'm a fan of football, I'm a fan of baseball, I'm a fan, no matter what sport it is."
Randle's down-to-earth mentality has meshed well with fans, but it's his serious demeanor on the football field that makes him play taller than his 5-foot-7-inch frame.
A photo circulated on social media Tuesday of Randle, showing up a half-hour before the Vikings would conduct their afternoon practice, in full pads and running through his drills.
"I go just to be out there, go through everything in my head, knowing what I need to do and execute," Randle said. "Because when you get to that moment and opportunity, you're that much quicker and that much faster. For me, being out before people is getting my mind right, getting my spirit right and sending my prayers up to God."
Randle also created a YouTube video of his path to the NFL, highlighting different aspects of his journey, including when he got the call from a Vikings team official letting him know the good news.
"As soon as I got that 612, I thought, ah, Adrian Peterson is calling me," Randle said. "It was cool though, that's something I can always go back on and tell my son or my daughter or whoever, because it's a great memory to have."
Although he didn't receive any attention in April's draft, Randle said his agent fielded calls from the Miami Dolphins, Atlanta Falcons and Arizona Cardinals seeking his services this offseason.
But after being mentored by the likes of Super Bowl-winning running back Terrell Davis, who makes the trip to Randle's hometown of Murrieta, Calif., as well as former NFL receiver Az-Zahir Hakim, who Randle said taught him how to block, he said he couldn't turn down a chance to play with Peterson.
"I was so grateful," Randle said.
Friday will mark Randle's first NFL game, when the Vikings open their preseason against the Houston Texans at the Metrodome.
The fifth running back on the Vikings depth chart, Randle also blocks on kick return and is a gunner on kickoffs, because Randle said he loves to hit people.
Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave also noticed Randle's fearless bravado.
"[Randle] has really excelled in pass protection," Musgrave said. "He's not the tallest guy, but he has shown he is not afraid to stick his face in there."
He isn't the tallest guy, in fact, he's the shortest player on the Vikings' 90-man roster -- by three inches.
"Sometimes I think I'm the Hulk," Randle said. "No matter how much bigger the guy is, which most are."