Just got off the phone with Vikings fullback C.J. Ham.
C.J.’s on-the-record quotes:
On The Minneapolis Miracle: “The locker room is still buzzing over (Stefon) Digg’s last-second catch against the Saints. Case (Keenum) made a great throw, and Diggs made a great play. You see it happen, you’re sort of in shock at first, and then you look around for a flag and wonder if he stepped out of bounds? And then you realize that we won the game in a miraculous finish, and everyone’s going crazy everywhere. The guys really let loose in the locker room afterwards, with everyone high-fiving and hugging each other — the players, our owners, coaches and staff. The energy and celebration in the locker room afterwards was off the charts. That it was Diggs who hauled it in and took it to the house made it all the more special for us — because he’s Diggs, the guy everybody absolutely loves and who always wears his emotions on his sleeves. Guys were still in their shoulder pads celebrating 30, 45 minutes after the game. I think everyone was stunned for a long time, and probably still are to a lesser extent.”
On the culture in the Vikes’ locker room overall: “Jerick (McKinnon) is always crackin’ jokes, and (Brian) Robison is a character. The brotherhood is really, really tight, right from the 10-year vets to the rookies. I wrongly assumed coming in last year that pro players might be less close, with the players being older and making all the money we do. Zim (Mike Zimmer, Vikings’ head coach) is an awesome guy, a great, hard-nosed coach. In his system, you do things the right way. It’s been interesting to see that he also likes to joke around.”
On the love he receives from his many old and new friends in our neck of the woods: “Amazing support from back home. Greatly appreciated. Humbling. I take being a positive role model for kids seriously.”
On the nationally-televised Philly game, with the winner advancing to the Super Bowl: “Two excellent teams that proved themselves all season. It should be a great game. Just to be playing in the NFC championship game as a rookie is crazy, a personal blessing. We’ll be ready, you can count on it.”
On his well-scripted role with the Vikes: “Be ready whenever my number is called, in the running game, in the passing game and on special teams. The mindset is always to do my job, as all of us players are asked to do. Switching to fullback (from running back) this season has been an adjustment, because the at fullback the speed of the game is quicker and you must react faster. I absolutely enjoy the physicality part of playing fullback. It’s one-on-one with a defensive lineman or linebacker, my manhood versus his manhood, and we battle it out. It’s fun.”