Sep 22, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback Zach Line (48) against the Cleveland Browns at Mall of America Field at H.H.H. Metrodome. The Browns defeated the Vikings 31-27. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Zach Line is tougher than you. I don’t care how tough you think you are. You lose this one.
This is how tough Zach Line is: Last spring during the combine, the SMU back learned that he had a tear in the labrum of his left shoulder. Only surgery could repair the damage. But surgery would sideline him for months. With surgery, he would lose any chance of making an NFL team.
So Line opted against surgery, even though the pain in his arm sometimes reached excruciating levels. He worked out. He took hits. He endured the agony.
No one drafted him, but the Vikings signed him as an undrafted free agent. He fought in camp and preseason. Against the odds, he made the team.
He played three games. Against Cleveland in week 3, he suffered a knee injury. The Vikings needed a roster spot to reinstate suspended fullback Jerome Felton, so Line was placed on IR.
With his season over anyway, Line decided to get the shoulder taken care of. When a doctor examined Line’s shoulder, he discovered a far worse situation than originally thought.
The labrum was torn 270 degrees. Almost completely torn. That horrific pain Line kept experiencing when getting hit? Was his shoulder popping in and out. Over and over.
Line had surgery on November 1st to repair the torn labrum. He is only now recovering his range of motion. But he still can’t sleep comfortably.
Every week he studies the Vikings’ game plan using a team-issued tablet. He watches the games.
Who knows what will happen to Line next year. A new coaching regime will be coming to Minnesota. Who knows what plans they will have personnel-wise.
If they’re looking for a team full of tough SOBs who don’t know the meaning of the word quit? They’ll want to hold on to Zach Line.