Minnesota Vikings seek, sign Hardy (Football)

January 20, 2012

Daniel Hardy

He hasn’t played a down in the NFL yet, but Daniel Hardy of Anchorage is inching closer to the field and believes he will get an opportunity.

The Minnesota Vikings agree.

They signed the 24-year-old tight end as a free agent after a rookie season that saw him get drafted by the Tampa Bay Bucs just last spring before being released and eventually landing with the New Orleans Saints as a practice player. He was on the Saints sideline in San Francisco last week during that epic playoff game won by the 49ers.

But that was then. Now he’s a member of the Vikings.

“Looking at the overall situation there, I just felt like it was the best decision for me,” Hardy told me.

The 6-foot-4, 249-pounder is currently staying with his girlfriend in Salt Lake City and plans to return to Anchorage in the summer.

His rookie experience in the NFL was a whirlwind of teams, tryouts and playbooks.

The former West High standout signed with New Orleans in late November and was a member of the practice squad. There he got an inside look at what it takes to be a champion [the Saints won Super Bowl 44 in 2010].

“Words can’t describe what you can learn in that short amount of time,” Hardy said. “I learned how to become a professional.”

He raved about Drew Brees and Sean Payton.

“You always hear the clichés about first one in, first one out, but [Brees] epitomizes that. He epitomizes what a leader should be. There is no mistake why he broke Dan Marino’s passing record,” Hardy said. “They are top to bottom so meticulous in their preparation.”

He will apply what he learned to his career moving forward.

“I’m excited to be going to Minnesota,” Hardy said.

And unlike last year, there will be no waiting for the draft, no waiting for the lockout to end. He already knows where he’s going.

“You know what’s mapped out for you,” he said. “I have an offseason training regimen given to me by the coaching staff. I was able to talk with my tight ends coach today. It’s nice.”