Ruff Stuff: Isaac Fruechte, Vikings wide receiver
Isaac Fruechte is heading into his third year as a member of the Minnesota Vikings. The former Caledonia High School, Rochester Community and Technical College and University of Minnesota wide receiver spent the last two years on the Vikings’ practice squad, though he was promoted to the team’s active roster in last year’s season finale.
Fruechte has a shot at making the team’s 53-man active roster this coming season, with receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson both having left the Vikings this offseason via free agency. Fruechte’s biggest strength is his speed, having run the 40 in the 4.4 range out of college. He’s also considered versatile, with an ability to play on special teams. Like the rest of the Vikings, Fruechte has been practicing with the team the last three weeks in their offseason organized team activities.
How do you regard your chances for significant playing time this coming season?
FRUECHTE: That’s a tough question. It can be ever changing. We want to be the best team in the NFL, and whatever I can do to help the team achieve that, that’s the most important thing to me. It doesn’t matter whether that is special teams or on offense — I’m more than happy to do it. But now is the time to work on all of that, to work on jelling with the guys and work toward achieving our ultimate goal.
You elected to spend weeks 1-4 last year on the Detroit Lions’ practice squad. The Lions then released you, before the Vikings immediately picked you back up again. Were you pleased to land back in Minnesota?
FRUECHTE: Obviously I was excited to be back and have a job. They came to me with that. I was fortunate enough to have a good relationship with (former Vikings receivers coach) George Stewart and Rick (Spielman, Vikings general manager). I was familiar with the Vikings’ system and their coaches, so I knew the lay of the land and everything. The Vikings were gracious enough to give me an opportunity again. I hope I can continue with them for several years.
What do you think most attracted the Vikings to you?
FRUECHTE: The NFL game is so much about size and speed (Fruechte is 6-3, 208 pounds). I have both of those. I am blessed to be a taller receiver who can run fairly well. I hope I can continue to improve my speed and make myself more of a threat.
What have you been working on since last season ended?
FRUECHTE: Speed and agility stuff, and I’ve been lifting weights to stay in good physical condition. To get faster, I’ve been working with speed coach Dale Baskett, a guy who I’ve worked with since my sophomore year of high school. I got lucky in that he moved to Caledonia. He put me through sprint workouts about three to four times a week this winter. Another thing I’m working on is getting faster in and out of my breaks (in route running). Being a taller receiver, it’s sometimes harder to get in and out of those breaks where you’re running as hard as you can and then stopping on a dime. But I’m making progress at that.
Your dad, Carl Fruechte, is regarded as one of the top high school football people in Minnesota, as the longtime coach at perennial state power Caledonia. What kind of role has he played in your life?
FRUECHTE: My dad has played a huge role in my life, with the impact he had raising me and then being my coach in several sports. It was tough to get away from him at times (laughing). But I wouldn’t have it any other way. He has been tremendous. He’s a real good friend of mine at this age. He’s been tremendous for me in my life.