The Vikings Signed a Gopher on Tuesday

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The Minnesota Vikings finished rookie minicamp last weekend and barrel ahead toward mandatory minicamp on June 13th.

Along the way, the club signed a former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher this week — offensive lineman Sam Schlueter.

The Vikings Signed a Gopher on Tuesday

Schlueter, 25, joined the NFL via undrafted free agency in 2022 and spent time with the San Francisco 49ers and New York Jets. Then in 2023, he tried out for the Vikings, and voila, he’ll join the franchise this summer and vie for a roster spot.

Signed a Gopher on
Minnesota offensive lineman Sam Schlueter (70) blocks Purdue defensive end DaMarcus Mitchell (15) during the second quarter of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 2, 20,21 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. © Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Lindsey Young from highlighted the addition and explained Schlueter’s role as a Gopher in 2021. “In 2021 for the Gophers, Schlueter started all 13 games and blocked for an offense that recorded 4,681 total yards and averaged 25.5 points per game. He received Academic All-Big Ten honors in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021. Schlueter played right and left tackle for the U of M.”

Schlueter faces an uphill climb to make Minnesota’s 53-man roster at the end of August, but stranger things have happened. For now, these are the Vikings offensive tackles:

Left Tackle
LT1: Christian Darrisaw
LT2: Blake Brandel
LT3: Vederian Lowe
LT4: Sam Schlueter

Right Tackle
RT1: Brian O’Neill
RT2: Oli Udoh
RT3: Jacky Chen

Iowa defensive back Riley Moss (33) gets past a block from Minnesota offensive lineman Sam Schlueter (70) during an NCAA Big Ten Conference football game, Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.. © Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Last year, Minnesota carried five offensive tackles into Week 1 against the Green Bay Packers on the active roster, so Schlueter will somehow have to oust Vederian Lowe and UDFA Jacky Chen in training camp and the preseason.

Heading into last year’s draft, Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline described Schlueter’s strength as, “Massive offensive lineman who is effective in a very small area. Fires off the snap, blocks with leverage, and works to bend his knees. Strong in his lower body, keeps his feet moving, and easily turns defenders off the line to open up running lanes. Blocks with a nasty attitude and plays through the whistle.”

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The knocks on his skillset include agility and footwork. The 6’6″ 310-pounder was waived with an injury designation last year by the 49ers and later latched onto the Jets practice squad. But as a native Minnesotan — Schlueter is from Victoria, about 30 miles southwest of U.S. Bank Stadium — Vikings fans will keep close tabs in July and August.

Minnesota also signed another hometowner, fullback Zach Ojile, from the University of Minnesota-Duluth on Tuesday.

Schlueter was an Academic All-Big Ten in 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021.

He’ll turn 26 in August.

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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