Saturday, April 28, 2012
Meet new Vikings RB Derrick Coleman
By Kevin Seifert
The Minnesota Vikings' list of 15 undrafted rookie signings includes at least one with quite an intriguing story.
UCLA running back Derrick Coleman is severely hearing impaired and wears hearing aids during games. As ESPNLosAngeles.com detailed last fall, Coleman needs to read lips even when wearing his hearing aids in order to communicate. Underneath his helmet, he wears two skullcaps: One to keep his hearing aids dry and a second to keep them from falling out.
Coleman told ESPNLosAngeles.com that his hearing deficiency makes him hyper-aware of his surroundings on the field and requires a sharp mind in the huddle.
"I have to pay attention like five times more than everybody else does," Coleman said. "When [the quarterback] says the play, I'm focused. I'll do whatever I got to do to do my job because if I don't hear him, we're all in trouble."
A 240-pound bruiser, Coleman rushed for 765 yards and 11 touchdowns last season for the Bruins. I couldn't begin to tell you if he has the slightest chance to make the Vikings' roster in 2012. But there will be 90 or so players at their training camp this summer. Perhaps 30 of them will be putting on a Vikings jersey for the first time. Now you know one of them.
Related: Coleman visited with the Oakland Raiders before the draft, according to my AFC West colleague Bill Williamson.