GREEN BAY – Danny Vitale felt an immediate rush of anticipation about Matt LaFleur’s offense as soon as the Packers’ fourth-year fullback turned on the film this spring.

Early in the offseason program, Vitale watched a highlight reel of two of his biggest idols at his position, Kyle Juszczyk and Patrick DiMarco, chewing up defenses in Kyle Shanahan’s offense through a blend of versatility and creativity.

LaFleur, Green Bay’s first-year head coach, rose up the NFL coaching ladder under Shanahan and his father, Mike, and has similar respect for the fullback position as his mentors, a reality that has Vitale excited for the possibilities.

“Looking at those teams, it’s a fullback’s dream,” Vitale said.

The inescapable truth of playing fullback in today’s NFL is one must be different to survive. Juszczyk and DiMarco have carved out lengthy careers at the game’s most volatile position with their ability to run, block, catch passes out of the backfield and play special teams.

Vitale looks to bring that same dimension to Green Bay, the place he’s called home since October. He played in five games for the Packers last season and is currently one of two fullbacks on the offseason roster with practice-squad holdover Malcolm Johnson.


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