Minnesota Vikings Already ‘Love’ Their New Longshot NFL Prospect X

Levi Drake Rodriguez, Minnesota Vikings
Credit: Photo courtesy of the Minnesota Vikings

It doesn’t matter whether it was Rick Spielman or Kwesi Adofo-Mensah making roster decisions as GM; the Minnesota Vikings love to take chances on longshot NFL prospects. Sometimes, they arrive in the form of undrafted free agents, such as Ivan Pace. Other times, they are late-round picks who slipped down the draft board for whatever reason.

There are 91 players on the MN Vikings’ current roster. Most of those guys have no chance to crack the final 53 spots, and aren’t even worth discussing, let alone writing or reading about. But there’s one 2024 rookie seventh-rounder in Minnesota that might be different.

Levi Drake Rodriguez stealing Minnesota Vikings coaches’ hearts

General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected seven players in the 2024 NFL Draft. The final pick came at 232nd overall, defensive lineman Levi Drake Rodriguez, out of Texas A&M-Commerce. He was also “Prospect X” for The Athletic in this year’s draft.

According to Alec Lewis (also of The Athletic), Minnesota Vikings coaches are already impressed by what they’ve seen from the 6-foot-4, 300-pound defensive lineman. He needs to get better against the run, but there are a lot of people, both inside TCO Performance Center and beyond, who really like this kid. Hell, if Vikings safety legend Paul Krause is all in… then we probably should be too, right?

The team loves him already. Improving against the run has been and will continue to be the focus, but you cannot teach his motor.

The Athletic’s Alec Lewis on Levi Drake Rodriguez

Related: Jordan Addison Showing Superstar Potential Ahead of Second NFL Season

The 23-year-old is just getting his start in the NFL, but his journey to the pros has been a long one. He initially started his college career without any offers as a zero-star prospect with the Southwest Assemblies of God, or SAGU Lions, in the NAIA. That’s not even up to the FCS level of play, let alone the FBS, where the Gophers play.

But Rodriguez dominated in three years before lucking into a connection with Texas A&M-Commerce after an email he sent reached the team’s defensive line coach. Rodriguez put forth two more excellent seasons in the FCS with his new team and somehow landed on the Vikings’ radar, but recording 22 sacks and 43 TFLs in 50 games likely didn’t hurt.

Yet, several seventh-round picks come and go every year in the NFL. What makes Rodriguez any different?

For one, he has a motor that never stops and a work ethic that makes all his teammates wonder if they’re doing enough to earn their spots. That type of competition is infectious, and it’s exactly what a young prospect scratching and clawing for a roster spot needs. Here is what he said about his daily routine and work ethic.

“Every morning, no matter what time I went to sleep, I would wake up at 3:30 AM, read my bible and write, hydrate and eat, get to the field and do early work. I can confidently say nobody did what I did on a consistent basis when it came to my pre practice routine.”

Minnesota Vikings draft pick Levi Drake Rodriguez on his daily routine in college

Heading into another season with a group of largely unproven defensive linemen aside from Harrison Phillips, players like Levi Drake Rodriguez give Vikings fans hope for a brighter future ahead.

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