Toby Gerhart: “You want to go in the first round, but I’m perfectly happy with where I’m at and I’m excited to get to Minnesota

April 26, 2010 – 7:50 am by Michael Bean

Stanford running back Toby Gerhart is a Minnesota Viking after being selected as the 51st  overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Gerhart, who came in second in the Heisman Trophy voting for his outstanding season for the Cardinal last fall, was the fifth running back selected in the draft. He’ll join All World ‘back Adrian Peterson in Minnesota’s backfield and provide a bruising downhill running style to compliment Peterson’s versatile game. With Chester Taylor no longer in Minneapolis, it’s safe to assume that Gerhart should receive a decent number of carries in 2010, as the Vikings try to keep AP injury-free and explosive throughout the grind of a long NFL season.

Gerhart joined Into the Night with Tony Bruno after being drafted on Friday to talk about wanting to be drafted in the first round but ultimately content winding up in Minnesota, how it made him feel good that the Vikings traded up in the second round to draft him, how he tries to not pay attention to the belief that his draft stock fell a bit because he’s a white running back, how he hopes his childhood idol Brett Favre will return next year, and how he’s still got to concentrate on graduating from Stanford before he moves up to Minneapolis this summer.

On if he was disappointed to not have been drafted in the 1st round:

“You know, in the back of my mind I was hoping to go in the first round. My agent told me to expect to go in the second, that it was unlikely but that there was a slim chance I would go in the first. So we sat there and watched it. You know, you want to go in the first round, but I’m perfectly happy with where I’m at and I’m excited to get to Minnesota.”

On if it made him feel good that Minnesota traded up in the 2nd round to draft him:

“Oh yeah, it made me feel really good. It’s kind of funny because we were sitting there, we knew there was a chance Houston could take me, so we were kind of sitting there waiting for a phone call. And my phone starts ringing and everybody’s like Houston’s calling, they’re calling! And I answered and it’s Rick Spielman from the Vikings. And he was like ‘hello, it’s Rick Spielman from the Vikings.’ And he was like, ‘are you tired of waiting to get drafted?’ And I was like ‘yeah.’ And he said, ‘well we’re going to take you, we just traded up with Houston.’ And sure enough it comes up across the T.V. that they traded picks and they took me. It was just an unbelievable moment and a dream come true for me.”

On the whole notion that NFL teams aren’t interested in white running backs:

“No, not really. I try not to pay attention to that. I think in the last couple days right here before the draft, it kind of got blown way out of proportion. Like I’ve always said all along, I’m a running back, it’s the position I play, the whole race thing is not an issue, and hopefully I just continue to get seen as a running back, and keep playing as a running back and do great things for the Minnesota Vikings.”

On if he’s gotten a phone call from Brett Favre and if not, if he plans to be the guy who calls Favre to prod him to committing to returning for the 2010 season:

“If he calls me, I’ll definitely get on him to get out there. He was my childhood idol, and never in my wildest dreams would I think I would take a hand off or catch a pass from him. So I hope he comes back, he’s a huge part of the team, and he comes back and helps us win a Super Bowl this year.”

Listen here to Gerhart with Tony Bruno on Into the Night on FOX Sports Radio (interview begins at 13:30 mark)

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