Michael Vick wants to run more

Updated: August 22, 2013, 4:35 PM ET
By Phil Sheridan | ESPN.com

PHILADELPHIA -- With the Philadelphia Eagles' starting quarterback job locked up, Michael Vick revealed a surprising strategy for avoiding the injuries that have plagued him the past three years.

He wants to run the ball more often -- and coach Chip Kelly's offense will give him that chance.

"I will be a threat," Vick said Thursday. "I'm going to have my opportunities to do the things I like to do within this offense and to run the football. That's exciting."

For the past couple of years, Vick attempted to be more of a pocket passer in former coach Andy Reid's offense. In Kelly's option-based offense, Vick will be able to run the ball more often.

Vick You've got to take on a certain mindset that you've got to play the game all out. When you go into a football game not wanting to get hurt, trying not to get hurt, it doesn't allow you to play the way that you want to play.

-- Michael Vick

Of course, that means he will be subjected to more contact.

"We have an answer for that -- 220 pounds standing right here, soaking wet," Vick said.

Vick said he added weight and muscle in the offseason. He also worked to strengthen his legs to prepare for running the ball more. In early May, he challenged 25-year-old running back LeSean McCoy to a race and beat him in the 40-yard dash.

"I tested myself with Shady," Vick said. "I passed that test, so I'll outrun linebackers and safeties."

That's something he had trouble doing the past few years. Vick, 33, seemed a step slower and took a physical beating.

In his nearly three seasons as the Eagles' No. 1 quarterback, Vick missed 12 of 37 starts with various injuries, including two concussions and two rib injuries.

"You guys act like I get hurt once a week," Vick said. "Some [injuries] were random, some were positions I put myself in, sometimes being in the wrong place at the wrong time -- two years back-to-back with broken ribs. Other than that, everything's been pretty cool. If I can keep that to a minimum, I'll be OK."

[+] EnlargeMichael Vick
AP Photo/Michael PerezMichael Vick said he will be "a threat" as a runner in the Eagles' new-look offense under first-year coach Chip Kelly.

That will be harder if Vick is roaming through the defensive secondary more often. Vick has never been much for sliding to avoid contact, which is why he spent extra time in the weight room this year.

"Hopefully I'll be able to maintain [taking] the hits," he said. "I've been taking my vitamins, taking calcium like never before, just doing things that will give me an edge."

Vick pointed to 2006, the only time he has played 16 games in a season. It was Vick's final year with the Atlanta Falcons.

"I ran for 1,000 yards," Vick said. "I played all 16 games, but I played with a different mindset.

"You've got to take on a certain mindset that you've got to play the game all out. When you go into a football game not wanting to get hurt, trying not to get hurt, it doesn't allow you to play the way that you want to play."

Vick ran for 1,039 yards on a career-high 123 carries that season. He was also sacked 45 times as the Falcons went 7-9.

Vick won the starting quarterback job after a competition with Nick Foles. He is expected to play at least one half of the Eagles' preseason game in Jacksonville on Saturday night.

Phil Sheridan

ESPN Philadelphia Eagles reporter

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