[size=18px]Jones not out[/size]

By TOM DAVIS, Peru Tribune Managing Editor
The Wabasha Plain Dealer

Tuesday, August 8, 2006 11:36 PM EDT

MANKATO, MN. - The odds are stacked against him, but don't count Brandon Jones out. He certainly isn't.

The Peru High graduate is enjoying his first couple of weeks in an NFL training camp, and he feels good about his job performance so far.

“I am not doing bad,” Jones said after Sunday's scrimmage. “I haven't been knocked on my butt yet.”

Jones signed with the Minnesota Vikings on the eve of camp, thus giving himself about eight less weeks to learn the offense than other rookies. And oh yeah, he has to learn a new position as well.

After playing running back during his career at Purdue University, Jones has had to make the adjustment to fullback for the Vikings.

“(I have to improve) my lead blocking, I am new to it,” Jones said. “I took more lead blocks on in my first scrimmage (with the Vikings) than I did my whole career at Purdue.”

One area where his Purdue career has paid dividends is in the skill of pass catching. With the Boilers playing “basketball on grass” as Coach Joe Tiller has called it, Jones is ahead of his competition in that skill area.

“(The coaches) have said they like the way I catch and then run after the catch,” Jones said. “That is one way that (playing at) Purdue paid off for me.”

Jones is in competition with Steven Jackson, a rookie who played at Clemson, for the backup fullback position. The two players are not only spending a lot of time next to each other on the field, but off of it as well.

They are roommates.

“He's actually been really helpful,” Jones said, dismissing any animosity the two might feel toward each other. “We talked and he said that he's gonna play his best and I'm gonna play my best and whoever wins, wins.”

Both are trying to learn from three-time All-Pro fullback Tony Richardson, whom Minnesota signed from Kansas City to start at fullback this year.

“(Richardson) knocks people on their butts on a consistent basis,” Jones

said. “He's a man.”

The veteran has proven to be beneficial to the newcomer, however.

“This is a great opportunity for me to sit back and watch him play,” Jones said. “If I have a question, he'll answer it. He has spent extra time after practice working with me.”

Despite all of the obstacles that have been placed in front of him, Jones feels right at home in the NFL.

“I don't think these guys are better athletes than me,” Jones said. “I can play this game. I can play at this level.”

Locals can catch a glimpse of Jones playing on Monday, as the Vikings host Oakland on ESPN.

Jones not out