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Former Vikings center likes what he sees in Bradbury

Garrett Bradbury started at guard at North Carolina State in 2016 before moving to center for his final two seasons. Photo via Minnesota Vikings

EAGAN, Minn. -- Former Vikings center Joe Berger showed up at rookie mini-camp Friday and gave newcomer Garrett Bradbury some advice.

Asked what Berger told him, Berger said, "Listen to older guys."

Well, sort of.

"He actually told me, ‘Don’t listen to older guys,’ " Bradbury confessed, "but I think he was joking."

Berger, who played for the Vikings from 2011-17, said he likes what he has seen so far from Bradbury, taken with the No. 18 pick in last week’s draft.

“He’s great," Berger said.

Bradbury took the field at the TCO Performance Center for the start of a three-day mini-camp. He played center Friday and many believe that’s where he’ll be when the season starts in September.

The Vikings, though, aren't tipping their hand. Bradbury started at guard at North Carolina State in 2016 before moving to center for his final two seasons. There might remain a chance he plays guard and Pat Elflein stays at center. If Bradbury is the center, Elflein likely would move to guard.

“We’ll make a decision quickly and let it go," Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.

Has Zimmer perhaps already made up his mind and just won't reveal his decision?

“Maybe," he said. “You’re right about that. I might not tell you."

Berger’s advice aside, there weren’t too many older guys around Friday for Bradbury to listen or not listen to. Bradbury, who turns 24 next month, is the oldest among 12 Minnesota draftees.

The mini-camp brings together 29 roster players, seven with previous pro experience, all older than Bradbury. The camp also includes 37 try-out players.

“It’s a little surreal, but once you get the helmet on and see it’s a different decal and it’s an NFL helmet, it’s starting to get a little more real," Bradbury said. "... It’s still a little surreal, though, because you’ve waited for it your whole life and it’s finally here."

Bradbury spent a lot of time in typical blocking drills, holding up pads for other offensive linemen and vice versa.

“I knew that (Bradbury) was a crazy athlete," said guard Dru Samia, a fourth-round pick from Oklahoma. “I saw him at the Senior Bowl. I saw a lot of clips of him, too, blocking guys down, so I was expecting someone to come in here and just go about their business and be a baller and that’s exactly what he’s been doing."

Since arriving in Minnesota, Bradbury has delved into the playbook. He said part of making a “good first impression” is quickly learning the system.

After this week's mini-camp, the Vikings won’t be back on the field until organized team activities begin May 21. Bradbury plans to put the time in between to good use.

“Just continue to learn the playbook, continue to work out, get familiar with calls and just keep doing what I’ve been doing,’’ he said.

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