Vikings Rookie Channels Childhood Connection

Jan 2, 2020; Orlando, Florida, USA; Team Pressure defensive line Jaquelin Roy (99) celebrates after making a tackle against Team Savage during the second half at Camping World Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings extracted a Dalvin Tomlinson-like replacement for — you guessed it — Dalvin Tomlinson in Round 5 of the 2023 NFL Draft.

His name is Jaquelin Roy, a defensive tackle from LSU, and yes, his pro comp is Tomlinson, who bolted for the Cleveland Browns in March. Roy won’t be Tomlinsonesque right away, as 5th-Rounders need time to develop, but if he plays his cards right, following in Tomlinson’s footsteps in his ceiling.

Vikings Rookie Channels Childhood Connection

And on Sunday, Roy revealed a wholesome and nostalgic connection to the Vikings, which seems to infer he landed in the right spot.

Nov 26, 2022; College Station, Texas, USA; LSU Tigers defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy (99) in action during the game between the Texas A&M Aggies and the LSU Tigers at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports.

The 22-year-old tweeted, “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 🙏.”

Here’s the tweet in the flesh:

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. He’ll battle Khyiris Tonga and others for a starting job this summer, although he probably won’t seize the gig until 2024 or so.

Sep 4, 2022; New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; Florida State Seminoles quarterback Jordan Travis (13) scrambles out the pocket against LSU Tigers defensive tackle Jaquelin Roy (99) during the first half of the game at Caesars Superdome. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports.

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.

Vikings Rookie Channels
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 Dane Brugler commented on Minnesota’s selection of Roy after the draft, “Roy is a complicated evaluation — he flashes promise because of his power, but his movement skills are average, and it will take time for him to adjust to pro blockers. He is a draft-and-develop tackle who can work his way into an NFL rotation as a rookie.”

Minnesota has found extreme luck with LSU alumni in the past, including Justin Jefferson, Roy Winston, Henry Thomas, and Danielle Hunter.

And now for Roy, the kid Viking became an adult Viking.

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,’ and The Doors (the band).

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