Few undrafted rookies get as much attention as former Virginia standout
The son of Frank Minnifield, a Pro Bowl cornerback for the Cleveland Browns in the 1980s, Chase looked like a post-draft steal ready to follow in his father’s footsteps through minicamp last year.
“I like the guys we added through the draft and I’m really impressed with Chase [Minnifield],” defensive coordinator Jim Haslett said at the time. “I think they’re all great additions.”
The injury was devastating, considering Minnifield had once been a top prospect until undergoing micro-fracture surgery on the same knee at the end of his college career.
But after a year away from the gridiron, Minnifield is cleared to compete and looking forward to the joy of having a full load of football on his shoulders.
“I’m back, I’m cleared, I’m good…the happiness of being able to play every day, to play the game – it’s not guaranteed,” he said. “I’m just happy to come out here and make it through another practice healthy.
“That’s just a blessing right here.”
Minnifield is still feeling the effects of his season away from the field, but his coaches are still optimistic that he will be a full-go by training camp.
“You can tell he’s not 100 percent yet, but once he gets there, you can tell he’s another [player] who’s been around football his whole life,” Haslett said. “He’s got football instincts and you can see that right now, even when he’s not moving at 100 percent.”
In training camp, Minnifield will be expected to compete for a spot on the roster that has become crowded with talent this offseason.
“[Minnifield]’s ready to compete,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I really liked him last year; it was just a shame in the last practice that he had an injury.
“He’s worked extremely hard to get himself in great shape. And him coming back, just in the first couple of days, he’s been very impressive. Now he’s got five weeks to keep on getting better and do what he needs to make our football team.”
One of the advantages that Minnifield holds over Amerson is his time in the system. Even though Minnifield has been unable to execute the plays, his time in the film room with the rest of the unit last year.
“It was good; it wasn’t as hard for me to get to know everything,” Minnifield said of the experience. “I’m grasping it pretty easily right now. So it was good. It wasn’t a wasted year if you ask me.
“I think I can help the team win if I’m ready, and I think I am ready.”