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Vikings’ Albert Young & Ryan D’Imperio Find Themselves In Limbo

April 19, 2011

During the protracted NFL lockout, most players are working out on their own while they wait for the two sides to broker a deal. In fact, some players are likely pleased they don’t have to attend offseason workouts. For the younger, unproven players, however, the missed team workouts lessen their chances to stick with a new coaching staff or a new team.

Vikings’ fullback Ryan D’Imperio is filling his time during the lockout by returning to Rutgers and taking classes, but the second-year player knows the importance of a full offseason for younger players.

“This would have been the first full off-season,” D’Imperio told Stephen Edelson of “So for me it’s really tough to miss this, especially since we have a new offensive coordinator and a new running backs coach and a new system to learn. So it is tough. I learned a lot at this time last year during OTAs (organized team activities) and minicamps, so hopefully I’ll get a chance to go back up there and learn more. We’ll see.”

Another player who is back home biding his time is running back Albert Young. Young, who signed with the Vikings as an undrafted free-agent in 2008, is scheduled to become a free agent when a new labor deal is reached. The 26-year-old knows that finding a job in the NFL is difficult, but notes that this year’s class of undrafted free-agents are the ones who will really suffer.

“I’m just one of 500 or so free agents looking for a job and the later it gets the tougher it will be,” said Young to Mike Radano of the Moorsetown Patch. “But it won’t be as tough for me as it will be for those guys that go undrafted in a few weeks. There’s a saying that if you don’t go by the fourth or fifth round, it’s almost better not to get drafted because you can pick a good fit. Well, this year, after the draft, who knows how much time those undrafted guys will get to find a spot.”

Depending on when the next NFL season actually begins, that time to “find a spot” continues to shrink.

While admitting he would rather be employed at this point in time, Young maintains a healthy perspective on the bigger picture.

“Look, I’m really very fortunate. I’m able to make a living and pay my bills playing a game that I’ve loved ever since I was a little kid, even before I put the pads on. I think we’d all prefer to have not had to go through this but what can we do now.”

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