Final pick Price knows the Vikings

Jabari Price (Bob Donnan/USA TODAY)

Jabari Price had tears of joy that he was drafted and it didn't hurt that the Vikings were the team that selected him.

Minnesota sports fans may not be familiar with seventh-round cornerback Jabari Price, but, had things been a little different, they would have been very familiar with him. Price was expected to be a prized recruit of the Minnesota Golden Gophers coming out of high school, but, after an 11th-hour change of heart, went to play for North Carolina instead.

"I committed to the University of Minnesota and then backed out at the last minute and went to North Carolina," Price said. "I have only been there once when I visited the Gophers, but now I'm coming back as a Viking."

While it took him four years to get back to Minnesota, he's coming back as a Viking and the emotion of the moment was a lot for Price and his family.

He is friends with Vikings cornerbacks Xavier Rhodes and Josh Robinson, as well as growing up playing Pop Warner ball with Teddy Bridgewater. His assessment of the new Vikings QB? They got themselves a winner.

"He is one of a kind," Price said. "You didn't know what you were going to get with Bridgewater. He was definitely the best quarterback on our schedule when we played him his freshman and sophomore years. We got to see him as a young pup and watch him grow throughout the years. Preparing for him was a headache and I'm glad to have a chance to play with him"

While seventh-rounders have no guarantee of sticking with any team, Price believes that he fits the kind of players new head coach Mike Zimmer is looking for and feels that his skill set is one that fits nicely with the young, aggressive talent the Vikings spent seven of their 10 draft picks this weekend acquiring.

"It definitely plays into my strengths," Price said. "As my tape shows, I'm very physical and a fierce competitor. I don't believe in corners that don't know how to tackle. I like to step out of my comfort zone and go above and beyond expectations. I think that's what Coach Zimmer saw in my game and saw in my personality. He is absolutely correct because I go above and beyond what is asked for and rise to the challenge every time I get the chance."

Price had hoped to get the opportunity to get noticed by Minnesota last year. The Gophers were scheduled to play North Carolina, but Minnesota officials backed out of the game – having to pay a $600,000 buyout fee to cancel the game. Asked if he was the reason, Price showed his sense of humor in saying that he might have been one of the reasons.

"I think so, man," Price said. "They paid $600,000 just to get up and out of it. I was looking forward to that game."

It may have been four years later than originally anticipated, but Minnesota football fans are going to get a chance to see what Price can do and he is hoping to show them what the U of M missed and what Vikings fans can look forward to.


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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