Final Detail of Vikings Trade Quietly Locks into Place

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During the 2024 NFL Draft, the conversation was dominated Kwesi Adofo-Mensah’s bold moves in the opening round. A pair of trades involved Minnesota snagging QB J.J. McCarthy and EDGE Dallas Turner.

A different Vikings trade, though, was also playing out.

On Halloween, Adofo-Mensah shipped Ezra Cleveland down to Jacksonville (the left guard has since come to an extension with the Jaguars). Coming back in Minnesota’s direction was a 6th-Round selection. And with the 177th selection in the 2024 NFL Draft, Minnesota plucked Walter Rouse out of the prospect pool.

A Vikings Trade Sees Final Detail Lock Into Place

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah is a believer in the team’s new offensive lineman.

While chatting with the’s Tatum Everett, Adofo-Mensah argues that the “sky is the limit” for Rouse, largely because he’s “extremely athletic in a short area, athletic and powerful in a short area.” And while the GM explains that it took some time for him to develop the nastiness that evaluators love in their lineman, Rouse has finally gotten there: “he’s a late-developing bully but he’s a bully nonetheless.”

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Originally, the pick belonged to the Carolina Panthers, the worst team in the NFL. As a result, the 6th that Jacksonville sent over arrived at the very top of the round. Or, put differently, at 177th overall.

The draft position is roughly where evaluators were projecting for the Oklahoma lineman. PFF placed Rouse at 171st while offering this thought: “Rouse is an experienced and well-built offensive tackle prospect with good size, length and football intelligence for a man/gap run scheme. In pass protection, he must improve his foot speed and consistency with leverage in order to become a starter at the next level.”

The scouting blurb on offers more insight: “Rouse possesses the size and intelligence coaches like, and he might be able to continue improving if he can get stronger and prove he can play on the right side as well. He’s an average athlete with average bend, and that will show up in his lack of consistent anchor and in-line drive. However, that should not be oversold, as he tends to anchor enough and maintain a level of stickiness as a run blocker, even when it looks a little disheveled. Rouse has played almost exclusively as a left tackle but might be in consideration as a solid swing tackle prospect with some upside.”

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The league website suggested Rouse should get scooped up in the 5th or 6th.

One wonders if there’s any chance that the young offensive tackle could actually be Ezra Cleveland’s replacement. After all, Cleveland arrived as a college OT who got shifted inside to guard. Could the same trajectory exist for Rouse?

The NFL scouting profile suggests that there’s an athletic limitation with Rouse, so kicking inside would square with that perspective. Generally speaking, a guard can get away with being less athletic. Needing to block Danielle Hunter, an edge rusher, is different from needing to block Harrison Phillips, a defensive tackle.

Danielle Hunter Trade Rumors
Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports.

Adofo-Mensah didn’t note athletic limitations when discussing Rouse, but the words he used kind of hinted at someone who could play guard. Being “athletic and powerful in a short area” are some of the necessary prerequisites for success at the position.

Even if there isn’t a position switch in his future, Walter Rouse likely has a role to play. Christian Darrisaw is the locked-in LT1 and Brian O’Neill is the locked-in RT1. After those two is David Quessenberry, a well-respected journeyman who will be the first off the bench if either starter needs to miss snaps. Otherwise, the tackle depth isn’t overly formidable (Blake Brandel could still get some work, but it’s possible he becomes a full-time guard).

Walter Rouse, 23, has played left tackle over these past three seasons. His only experience at a different position was a single snap at right tackle in the ’23 season.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference helped with this piece.

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K. Joudry is the Senior Editor for Vikings Territory and PurplePTSD. He has been covering the Vikings full time since the summer of 2021. He can be found on Twitter and as a co-host for Notes from the North, a humble Vikings podcast.