Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.

Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.

Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.

CB Jabari Price leaning on technique, not athleticism

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: July 28, 2014 - 10:20 AM

Vikings rookie cornerback beamed when asked about playing in pads first the first time on Sunday. He was known as an aggressive corner at North Carolina, where Price said he leaned on his natural ability to cover receivers.

That won’t cut it on this level, and Price is well aware of that as he hones the technique head coach Mike Zimmer and secondary coach Jerry Gray are teaching the corners.

“If I knew the stuff I knew now, that would be a different ballgame in college,” Price said.

Zimmer doesn't want any wasted movements once a corner jumps out of his stance. From 30 yards away, you can hear Gray yelling at corners, “Get off your heels!” in their first opportunity to incorporate bump-and-run on Sunday.

The coaches are watching hand placement, hips, feet and even shoulders once the corners get out of their stance. Price said he’d “open the gate for receivers” to dare quarterbacks to throw the ball.

“I just kind of ‘out-athleted’ everybody, if that’s a word, but it’s different for me,” Price said. “’I know I’m faster than you. I know I’m better than you.’ That type of attitude.”

Price said he likes the technique the Vikings are teaching, which allows Price and the other cornerbacks to stay on top of their receivers and make plays. Price had just two interceptions at North Carolina in four seasons.

Price has received more reps in practice with cornerback Captain Munnerlyn on the PUP list and shifted from outside and slot corner spots. He said he played nickel for most of his junior season because most ACC teams moved their best receiver in the slot. Price finished third on the team that season with 76 tackles and tied a team-high nine pass breakups.

Barring any significant injury, Price won’t see too much time on defense but will get a good chance to receiving playing time on special teams. He only participated in punt coverage in college due to the snaps he received on defense, but Price said he’s looking forward to contributing on special teams this season.

“First I got to start off in special teams and the rest will face into place,” Price said.


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