MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Part of the fun of Minnesota Vikings Training Camp is keeping an eye on the most recent locals to get a look.
C.J. Ham fits the bill. He attended Duluth Denfeld High School, Augustana Univeristy and has already registered a touchdown in the preseason.
It’s a thrill for C.J. Ham to wear the Vikings colors because this is the team he grew up watching, and that means something.
“It’s been a dream come true. Just having the opportunity to be in the NFL and be with the team I grew up watching, it’s a dream come true,” Ham said.
But getting there meant going through a Division II college experience. Ham cut his collegiate teeth at Augustana. Yes he’s been a Viking before, and it was there he blossomed into a prospect.
“It was something I heard my whole career in college, that I could possibly get a chance. But it didn’t really become a reality until the end of my junior year,” Ham said.
Ham understands what a lot of rookies do: It’s not just about making the Minnesota Vikings, it’s about playing well enough that someone, somewhere in the NFL wants you.
That’s what the preseason is all about.
That means sending a message through action to the coaching staff that you are ready.
“For these young guys to come in, especially undrafted guys, the say ‘Wow I can play in this league’ and it gives them a lot of confidence. He did a great job blocking the other night and he ran physical and hard with the ball so I think the confidence factor is the biggest thing,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said.
He did that in the first preseason game. It happens when you score a touchdown for all the football world to see.
“Man it was a blessing. One of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had thus far in my life,” Ham said. “It was just awesome to be out there on that stage, in that game. Being able to score was just a dream come true.
Put it on tape, because it might determine your NFL career.
“Just hard work every single day. Going out, putting it on tape and making sure I’m coachable.