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UDFA Coleman Overcame Adversity On Road To NFL

It never fails, every year somebody is added to this roster that has an incredible story worth telling.

This year, that guy is UCLA’s running back Derrick Coleman who has had to overcome an unusual disability on his way to the NFL.

Coleman, who reportedly signed as an undrafted free agent with the Vikings, has a severe hearing impediment and has to wear hearing aids in order to communicate with teammates on the field.  He has to wear skull caps under his helmet in order to keep the hearing aids dry and properly in place.

It hasn’t always been a disadvantage, though, as Coleman admits that in one particularly loud stadium he simply clicked the hearing aids off.  I bet offensive linemen wish they could do that from time to time to avoid false starts.

The lack of hearing heightens Coleman’s other senses, according to Coleman, who will read the lips of those trying to communicate to him.

“My dad always said: Keep your head on a swivel and be aware of your surroundings,” Coleman said. “So that’s how I am on the field. I always have to know what’s happening everywhere. You should anyway. You’re supposed to know what’s happening.”

“I’m not the type of person who is ever going to blame it on my hearing if I mess up,” he said. “Maybe I have too much pride because even if I don’t hear it, I might just say I got it wrong, rather than blame it on my hearing, you know?”

It sounds like Coleman is a fairly incredible kid worthy of a chance to keep on playing running back.

For more on Coleman’s story, click here for a great write up.

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Adam Warwas

Adam Warwas (Founder) has been writing about the Vikings for a total of eight years. Five of those years have been here at Vikings Territory where he continues to surround himself with enough talented individuals that people keep coming back. As proud as he is of what Vikings Territory has become, his real treasures are in his home... a beautiful wife and three amazing children (and a dog named Percy).

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  1. Now that’s the kind of RB you want on the team, I Really hope he has a Awesome training camp and makes the team…

  2. Living in Los Angeles, and being a UCLA fan, I’ve watched Derrick Coleman since his Freshman year. I like him a lot. Always was one of my favorites. Being a Broncos fan I was hoping Denver would sign him because I know what type of player he is and can be at the next level and what type of person he is.

    You’ll never have to worry about Derrick. He’s smart, powerful, good vision, and faster than what people think. He’s an unselfish blocker and accountable player and person. His story is incredible. He chose UCLA because of the history and tradition and academics there. Like I said before he’s a smart young man.

    I’m a little jealous that the Vikings signed Derrick. But, at the same time, I’m happy for him. He WILL make your roster and will turn out to be one of the hidden gems in this draft that went undrafted.

    There’s nothing not to like about Derrick Coleman. I believe the Viking will fall in love with him and the fans will find themselves rooting for him.

    1. Thanks for your insight Jonathon. The Vikes had a decent draft but it just got a little better knowing the story behind one of the players they signed.

    2. can he be a fit as a 3rd down kinda of back? change of pace Jonathan? Cause with Adrian Peterson and Toby gerhart it’s not a strong inside presence we need, but somebody out of the backfield.
      Anyway thanks for providing more inside on the story 🙂

  3. Coleman has heart and will be the RB that is needed to get the job done. I believe that he will also bring a lot more to the team. Like J said he is that gem that went undrafted and he will prove it too. UCLA did not use him to his full potential and he still has made it this far. So everyone who has doubt get ready to be amazed.

    Fan of Coleman

  4. Thanks guys,
    For your input on Derrick, Looking forward to seeing him on the field, Sounds like a class A Person,Player.

  5. Besides, its not how good your hearing is, its how well you listen. Coaches will probably find it easier to communicate with Coleman than they will with some of the guys with perfect hearing.

  6. Minnesota is not only getting a great running back but a GREAT person in Derrick Coleman
    I have followed this kid his entire time at UCLA and I must say for him to get a chance to play at the next level is outstanding and will also give hope to other kids with disability that you can also succeed at the next level.GO VIKINGS!!!!!! GO DERRICK

    1. I’ve followed DC’s career for many years. He is the Real Deal…tough, faster than he looks, smart, and very powerful. He brings the hurt with every carry. As strong as Toby but with greater agility. Will be a great get for the Vikes.