Hometown Viking Will Head to the Pro Bowl

Dec 8, 2019; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) and defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson (94) celebrate after the game against Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

The fullback position is a dying breed in the NFL.

In order to stick at the position throughout a player’s career, they have to be extremely talented as blockers, runners, and receivers. That is exactly what C.J. Ham has done for the Vikings throughout his career, and the hometown Viking has become the third player from Minnesota’s roster to make the Pro Bowl this weekend.

Hometown Viking Heads to the Pro Bowl

C.J. Ham
Nov 8, 2020; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Initially, Ham was listed as an alternate at the position, but with the San Francisco 49ers advancing to the Super Bowl, the top vote-getter, Kyle Juszczyk, will be busy in Las Vegas in a couple weeks and won’t be able to participate.

As a result, Ham is the third Viking to make the event, joining teammates Danielle Hunter and Andrew DePaola. This will also be the second time that the Duluth native has qualified for the Pro Bowl, with his first coming during the 2019 season. He also served as an alternate for Juszczyk in that year.

While Juszczyk is certainly the most talented fullback in the league, Ham has proved to be a vital piece of the Vikings roster over the years. He joined the team back in 2016 after going undrafted out of D-II school Augustana in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. At that point, Ham was still viewed as a running back. After his first training camp, he was cut but signed with the practice squad.

Hometown Viking
Jan 9, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) runs the ball while pursued by Chicago Bears inside linebacker Roquan Smith (58) during the third quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Ham’s switch to fullback was announced in 2017, and the position switch earned him a roster spot. Since then, he has appeared in 113 games with Minnesota, catching 77 passes for 635 yards and two touchdowns while adding 104 yards and three scores on 37 rushes.

Over the past few seasons, Ham has been a crucial piece of the offense and has become one of the more respected players in the locker room. He was named a Vikings captain for the third consecutive season in 2023 after signing a two-year extension to remain with the team.

The numbers from the fullback aren’t all that gaudy, particularly for the 2023 season, as he totaled just one carry for seven yards and seven receptions for 25 receiving yards, but his blocking ability is something to be marveled at. In total, he played 216 snaps with the offense and 244 snaps with the special teams, showcasing his versatility on the field.

Dec 9, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fullback C.J. Ham (30) looks on prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

While Ham’s future in Minnesota may be uncertain (the Vikings can save $1.7 million by parting ways with the fullback this offseason), it has certainly been a cool story for the undrafted Duluth native over the years playing for the team in his home state.

Ham will turn 31 years old in July.

Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Over the Cap and Pro Football Reference.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken