Dawkins hoping to thrive in new scheme

Everett Dawkins said the style of play at Florida State didn't suit his natural abilities. He's confident a change in philosophy will help, even if the position remains the same.

There are times when a player is drafted on potential and upside. A team will try to project where a player can fit in their system. In the case of seventh-round defensive tackle Everett Dawkins, the Vikings had to try to determine how he would fit in their system with little in the way of transferrable information to go on.

Under former Seminoles coach Bobby Bowden, Dawkins' role was always changing, which he believes slowed his development somewhat. But coming to the Vikings is an answer to a prayer for the young defensive lineman.

"I played three-technique in a 4-3 defense, but we were more of a read defense," Dawkins said. "My body and my playing style is more of an attack, one-gap. That's what Minnesota is. I am loving everything about it and can go back to my old ways of playing – get up the field and get to the quarterback and just make plays."

Dawkins said there was a growing sense of frustration about his situation, being something of a round peg in a square hole. He firmly believes it adversely impacted his draft stock.

"It was definitely frustrating," Dawkins said. "I wasn't thinking about it at the time back in college. I had been hearing about it before, but it really hit me today when I fell to the seventh round. I had been hearing third through fifth (round projections). It's been a hard day for me, but I'm thankful. God put me in the position I am in for a reason so I'm just ready to work."

The prospect of being able to cut loose and show what he is capable of doing on the field and off a schematic leash has Dawkins excited about the prospects of what he can accomplish and he wasn't shy about his feelings on being drafted by the Vikings.

"I'm loving it, I'm loving it," Dawkins said. "We've got a great team up there. We've got Christian Ponder. He played at Florida State. We've got Xavier Rhodes. I know Sharrif (Floyd). Cordarrelle (Patterson). Adrian Peterson, I'm ready and I'm loving it."

Part of his excitement will be to reunite with teammate Xavier Rhodes, the second of the Vikings' three first-round picks Thursday. While he may be overstating the case, the Florida State influence is going to be felt on the Vikings defense and he's ready to show Vikings fans what their two new Seminoles are capable of. Asked if he was excited to be reunited with Rhodes in Minnesota, he didn't mince words.

"Most definitely," Dawkins said. "I know Xavier is a shutdown cornerback and you ain't got to worry about nothing on that side of the ball. I'm ready."

John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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