Who is this Bradley Randle guy everyone keeps talking about? Well Randle is one of the breakout stars of this year’s training camp. Since day one he has been turning heads down there in Mankato. Actually he has been turning heads since minicamp and the beat has just continued since real camp opened two weeks ago.
For those who have not been following things as closely, let me fill you in on Randle. He is a running back out of UNLV who skipped out before his senior season to enter the draft. He wasn’t drafted as it turns out but the Vikings did sign him as a free agent.
Randle is not the biggest guy in the world, measuring in at only 5-7/190, but he runs with some power despite his lack of size. He also has some nice quicks, as you would expect from a guy who stands only 5-7. When asked about Randle, Bill Musgrave made special mention of his great quickness and said he looks forward to seeing more of him in practice and preseason.
Power and quickness are two good qualities to have but in the end, if Randle does stick in the NFL, it will be because of his overall versatility. He does a little bit of everything including return kicks. He also has been praised for his pass protection, a key point when looking at him as a potential third down back.
Take the whole package together and you have to like Randle’s chances to stick with the Vikings. The running back depth chart right now is not exactly loaded with standout talent. Beyond Adrian Peterson you have Toby Gerhart, whose limitations are well-known. Then you get to a guy like Matt Asiata who was one of last year’s camp heroes but went on to do very little during the season (with only a limited opportunity of course).
Why pick Randle over a guy like Asiata? I think that is fairly obvious. If Randle truly is as good at pass protection as he is supposed to be, he already has a leg-up over Asiata and frankly Gerhart. I think we’re all sick of watching our backs whiff on blitz pick-ups? If Randle can help shore that up, then he already has great value.
But Randle’s value could go beyond pass protection. As you know, the Vikings are currently without a genuine change-of-pace back after trading away multi-faceted Percy Harvin. Randle at least looks the part of a scat-back with his compact size and great quickness, and could be an asset in those change-of-pace situations.
If Randle is the real deal, I think he already brings more to the table than Matt Asiata. Randle stands out as a guy with good physical tools and plenty of attitude. And he has some versatility to his game. He’s definitely one guy I’m looking forward to seeing in preseason.