Vikings Rookie Is Already Running with the 1st-Team

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One of the top subjects in the offseason is always how well the new guys fare, especially the rookies.

Most of them start slowly with the backups, and once they begin to earn the coaches’ trust and acclimate to the speed of the NFL, they begin to get reps with the starters. However, that mostly doesn’t happen until training camp.

Vikings Rookie Is Already Running with the 1st-Team

Vikings Rookie Is Already Running With the 1st-Team
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Vikings’ top rookie Jordan Addison, who was the 23rd overall pick in April’s draft, is still sidelined by an undisclosed injury. It is not believed to be serious and is just a precautionary measure. He is expected to be ready for training camp to compete with his teammates for snaps.

In the meantime, other rookies are hitting the ground running. Fifth-round rookie Jaquelin Roy is showing promise. The defensive tackle is already getting snaps with the first-team defense at mandatory minicamp, according to Alec Lewis from The Athletic.

That is a welcome sight, as the defensive line is one of the weakest parts of the Vikings’ roster. The departure of Dalvin Tomlinson hit the team, and he wasn’t properly replaced in free agency, and the position wasn’t targeted until the fifth round when general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected Roy with the 141st pick after trading up for him. The Vikings gave up the 211th overall pick to move up 17 spots.

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Measured at 6’3″ and 305 pounds, Roy has the potential to help replace Tomlinson. In the pre-draft process, he drew some comparisons to the ex-Viking who signed a huge deal in Cleveland.’s Lance Zierlein wrote about the young defender:

The more you watch, the more you like the way Roy plays the game. He’s a little tight in his lower body, which prevents consistent gap leverage as a run defender, but he has outstanding upper body power and plays with unbridled energy. Roy has one-gapping snap quickness and two-gapping potential if he can become more consistent with taking on blocks. Despite limited starting experience at LSU, he already displays signs of a rush plan and the athletic talent to execute it. Roy is an ascending talent with the potential to become a quality starter.

Lance Zierlein

While it would be too much to ask for a rookie to replace Tomlinson, a fantastic player, he apparently has the potential to grow into a quality player. The fact that he is already running at least a few plays with the starting unit before training camp even started demonstrates the possibility that he could be relevant in his rookie season.

Roy has a relatively easy path to the field. The only proven starter on the line is Harrison Phillips, who is one of the most underrated players on the team. Next to him, the Vikings only employ some career backups and free agency addition Dean Lowry. Among those backups is Khyiris Tonga, who showed his potential last season but only in limited snaps. It is a mystery if he can provide the same level of play in a starting role.

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Roy needs to beat out James Lynch, Jonathan Bullard, Esezi Otomewo, and Ross Blacklock to have a significant role on defense in his debut season, which seems possible.

The Vikings attempt to turn around their defense, a unit that ranked 31st in yards and 30th in points given up. Brian Flores was hired to lead the group after one season of Ed Donatell’s command, and a bunch of players were replaced. Less than half of the starting lineup is still on the roster. It’ll be interesting to see if the group will improve, but if it stinks, it won’t be because the decision-makers didn’t make any efforts to change things,

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt