Vikings Executive Says New Defender “Plays Like a Crazy Man”

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For a defensive tackle, being a crazy man can be a compliment.

Vikings executive Ryan Grigson had wonderful things to say about 7th-Round DT Levi Drake Rodriguez. More specifically, the Senior VP of Player Personnel indicated that Rodriguez “plays like a crazy man” while praising him for having “multiple pass-rush moves” and for the “want-to factor of just trying to be great.”

Vikings Executive Sees Tons of Potential in Levi Drake Rodriguez

More recently, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah echoed Grigson, tossing praise over to the rookie defender.

While chatting with the Vikings’ Tatum Everett on Tuesday, Adofo-Mensah relayed some praise for the 232nd pick, drawing attention to his “work ethic” while suggesting he’s “incredibly accomplished” as a pass rusher. In fact, the GM even made a comparison between Kobe Bryant and Rodriguez insofar as they both have a willingness to put in a ton of work.

The GM notes the need to “adjust to our level,” so there is a sober-minded understanding that Rodriguez is making a major jump as someone coming out of Texas A&M Commerce. Even within that, though, it’s hard not to step away with one clear message: Minnesota’s main decision makers are very excited about the defensive tackle.

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No doubt, the Vikings could use a boost at defense tackle.

Harrison Phillips is the only locked-in starter. After him, it’s a bit of a mystery. Jaquelin Roy is a breakout candidate; Jerry Tillery still possess tons of potential. Jonathan Bullard is well respected, which makes a lot of sense; if Bullard played hockey, he would be a tremendous 3rd-line player. Bullard, in short, will help a team win.

Within all of that, though, there’s still a need for more DT help. Getting some push on passing downs — something Dean Lowry was supposed to do last season — would do wonders for the Brian Flores defense.

The cluster of edge rusher talent is being led by Jonathan Greenard, Andrew Van Ginkel, and Dallas Turner. Those three are going to be the main men when it comes to putting the heat on a QB. Helping to create chaos will be no shortage of blitzes from guys like Josh Metellus, Harrison Smith, and Ivan Pace (among others). Flores, though, would certainly welcome some help along the defensive line.

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Realistically, Rodriguez is a long way from collapsing the pocket on Sunday. The optimism is simply that in time, Rodriguez could become that player.

Grigson and Adofo-Mensah aren’t alone in praising Levi Drake Rodriguez. There’s some belief that Minnesota snagged a sleeper. So while there’s a long journey ahead of the rookie DT, a lot of people are confident in his trajectory.

Keep Rodriguez in mind as the spring and summer competition gets going. His strength perfectly aligns with a roster weakness, meaning the young guy has a chance to catch on in Minnesota.

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.