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Vikings New No. 84 Embracing NFL Opportunity

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (WCCO) -- Imagine this --- you get drafted by the Minnesota Vikings and then they hand you the same jersey number as one of the franchise's all-time greatest players.

No pressure, right?

Well one Vikings rookie is embracing the opportunity to be a difference-maker.

It's a big responsibility, wearing the No. 84 'round round here, but Bucky Hodges fits the bill rather well. There's a new freak in the Vikings offense.

"I'm learning it -- I'm learning a lot. Compared to when I first got here, sounded like a foreign language to me," Hodges said. "But I would definitely say it's coming to me a lot more smoothly."

Hodges is a raw athletic specimen, a converted quarterback with the body type of a big wide receiver -- where he could see some time. He figures to be a major weapon in the Vikings offense, if the coaching staff can figure out how to utilize him.

"Just continue to show my play-making ability. Just, whenever the ball is in the air to me, I want to grab it. That's mine, that's my ball," Hodges said. "And blocking-wise, just show that I can block as a good blocking tight end. I'm not going to just be a regular pass-catching tight end. I'm going to do be able to do both.

"It's just different, because I mean, I never played at the Y position of tight end with my hand in the dirt. But I have good coaching, and a great group of guys helping me with my fundamentals and footwork, and I'm getting better every day," Hodges said.

Hodges says the other tight ends -- Kyle Rudolph and David Morgan -- have been invaluable helping him learn the tools and tricks of the trade.

"I look at their game, I get a lot from learning from both of them. Kyle's a vet, Kyle knows this game," Hodges said. "David's one of the best blockers I've ever seen before. So I ask him a whole lot about footwork, technique, he helps me a lot. It's great to have a group of guys, a great group of guys like them to help."

Because they'd all benefit if Hodges can even slightly resemble Randy Moss for more than just his number.

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