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Fahu Tahi Prepares for His Fifth NFL Season

Brett RichinsSenior Analyst IJune 16, 2010

MINNEAPOLIS - SEPTEMBER 14:  Naufahu Tahi #38 of the Minnesota Vikings is tackled by Freddy Keiaho #54 of the Indianapolis Colts in the third quarter at the Metrodome on September 14, 2008 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Colts defeated the Vikings 18-15.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Former BYU Cougar Fahu Tahi has a thankless job. He’s the lead blocker for the best running back in the NFL.

The 6′0″, 258-pound fullback has found a home in Minnesota, paving the way for Adrian Peterson and serving as a release valve for Brett Favre.

After a standout career as a running back at BYU, Tahi went undrafted in the 2006 NFL draft. Immediately following the draft he was quickly snatched up as a rookie free agent by Cincinnati, but released that same season by the Bengals.

The Vikings then swooped in to picked him up and have utilized Tahi’s skills as a devastating blocker in the backfield.

As a star player at Granger High School, Tahi rushed for nearly 6,000 yards and set the Utah state record for rushing touchdowns. But as a fullback in the NFL Tahi has rarely touched the ball, logging just nine carries and 27 receptions in four seasons. His value to the Vikings though, is unmistakable.

As a restricted free agent in 2009, Tahi signed an offer sheet from the Bengals who had realized their mistake in letting him go in 2006. When Petersen discovered that he might be losing Tahi in the backfield, Adrian informed the Vikings that if they wanted him toting the rock in Minnesota they had better match the Cincinnati offer and keep Tahi in Viking purple and gold.

Minnesota promptly did so to the tune of a one-year $1.4 million contract. This spring the Vikings again signed the former Cougar to secure his services for the 2010-11 season, teaming him again with Peterson and Stanford rookie Toby Gerhart.

Tahi lives in Utah in the off-season and continues to work to improve his game and give back to his community. He works out on a regular basis at ASAP Training in Orem (we will have more on this impressive training facility on Deep Shades later this week) to improve his speed, agility and strength.

He is also involved in the youth football camp G.I.F.T.ED, a free local football camp that gives kids ages eight and up rare access to instruction from current and former NFL players as well as coaches from area high schools and colleges.

In 2009, in just its first year of existence, the camp attracted over 600 participants. This year the camp will be held June 17th through 19th at Copper Hills High School and will feature instruction from Tahi and other former Cougars including Reno Mahe, Tavita Ofahengaue, Gabe Reid, Fui Vakapuna as well as former Highland High star Haloti Ngata. The camp kicks off at 2 pm on Thursday.

Deep Shades of Blue caught up with Tahi to talk about his NFL career, the developing BYU “fullback pipeline” to the NFL and this week’s free football camp.

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