Late-Round Vikings Rookie Getting Some Action with Starters

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The Minnesota Vikings will likely start Danielle Hunter and Marcus Davenport on the edges of the 2023 defensive line, with a combination of Harrison Phillips, Khyiris Tonga, and Dean Lowry on the line’s interior.

Late-Round Vikings Rookie Getting Some Action with Starters

And if something happens, injury or otherwise, to one of the men in the middle, a late-round rookie could be on deck to take snaps sooner than most thought.

HIs name is Jaquelin Roy, a 5th-Round pick by the Vikings in April’s draft.

Vikings Rookie Getting
Tigers Jaquelin Roy during the NFL Pro Day at LSU. Wednesday, March 29, 2023. Roy was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft by general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah. © SCOTT CLAUSE/USA TODAY Network / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis tweeted Tuesday, “Rookie DT Jaquelin Roy is taking a notable number of snaps with some of the starters.”

Roy played 31 games at LSU, tabulating 97 total tackles, 4 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries. He joined the Tigers the year after Justin Jefferson left for the Vikings in the 2020 NFL Draft. This summer, Roy is competing for playing time in the regular season and should be safe for a 53-man roster spot — especially with tweets like Lewis’. Some late-rounders spend their first season on a practice squad, but Roy appears on track to avoid such fate.

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Wearing No. 78 for the other purple and gold team, Roy will hope to help a Vikings defense needing repair. Minnesota somehow finished 2022 with a 13-4 record despite ranking 30th in points allowed and 31st in yards allowed. Head coach Kevin O’Connell dismissed Ed Donatell from the defensive coordinator job in January and hired Brian Flores from the Pittsburgh Steelers in February — a transaction universally revered by Vikings fans.

Roy has the prototypical build for a defensive tackle, standing 6’4″ and weighing about 305 pounds. He’s known for his physical toolset, all-around athleticism, and strength. For now, Roy isn’t classified as an elite pass-rushing prospect, so that skillset will need refinement in Flores’ defense.

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The Vikings traded the No. 158 and No. 212 pick in the 2023 NFL Draft to land Roy, so experiencing a promising early return on investment is encouraging for his trajectory. Right after the draft, Roy tweeted about his new team, “Started my journey playing Brec football with the Baton Rouge Vikings. Now being drafted to the Minnesota Vikings to live out my childhood dream is crazyy, keep God first and anything Is possible.”

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Minnesota has found magnificent luck with LSU alumni in the past, including Justin Jefferson, Roy Winston, Henry Thomas, and Danielle Hunter. And if the trend continues, Roy could eventually join the pantheon. His summer adventure to date is a good omen.

Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

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