As a 14-year veteran who has plenty of experience holding clipboards, Shaun Hill said all the right things this afternoon when the Vikings reintroduced the quarterback to us on a conference call.
In a fine NFL career spent mostly as a steady second-stringer, Hill has mentored former first-round picks in Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford and briefly but most recently Sam Bradford. And now that he is coming back to Minnesota to back up Teddy Bridgewater, Hill knows where he stands.
"It's better for everybody if you have your established roles," said Hill, who made eight of his 34 career starts last season with the Rams. "And I'll be able to fit that [backup] role for sure."
Hill, who started his career with the Vikings as an undrafted free agent in 2002, cited his familiarity with the team, the Twin Cities and offensive coordinator Norv Turner as his reasons for picking the Vikings over other suitors. His two-year $6.5 million contract probably didn't hurt either.
But for this marriage to work, Hill had to be comfortable with holding a clipboard on Sundays again. Hill knows that Bridgewater, who had a promising rookie season, is the man here in Minnesota. But he plans on pushing the second-year signal-caller to be better in practice and meetings.
"It's an interesting dynamic because you want to establish some kind of competitive spirit amongst the guys in the room," Hill said. "But you also understand your role."
Hill said he is excited to get to know Bridgewater and it sounds like Bridgewater is, too. The veteran agreed to terms with the team yesterday afternoon and has already heard from Bridgewater.
"He reached out to me, so it was good to hear from him. I chatted with him a little bit," Hill said. "I'm looking forward to working with him. And I'll tell you what, everybody — and I'm not just talking people in this building, but people around the league that know him or met him — everybody had nothing but great things to say about him so that's exciting for me as well."