Nick Rogers has that dreaded label — ‘tweener. That means some people see him as a potential defensive end or a linebacker. The Vikings see him as a linebacker, despite his lack of experience at that position in college.
He played in five games in 1998, mainly on special teams. In 1999, he played in nine games and started five while moving between weakside linebacker and strongside linebacker. In 2000, he earned second-team All-ACC honors at defensive end while registering nine sacks and six fumbles along with 62 tackles. At DE again in 2001, he was second-team all-conference again while making 64 tackles, six sacks and 12 tackles for loss.
Rogers played for Vikings defensive line coach George O'Leary at Georgia Tech and Vikings linebackers coach Brian Baker recruited Rogers to Georgia Tech when he was an assistant there. O'Leary also coached Rogers' older brother, Phillip, as a Yellow Jacket.
Baker called Rogers a good person, which he stressed is necessary in a late-round pick, especially one trying to make the transition from a lineman to a linebacker. Baker said Rogers is physically similar to current starting strongside linebacker Patrick Chukwurah.
Rogers is likely to back up Henri Crockett at middle linebacker so that Chukwurah can get more reps on the strong side. Rogers convinced Vikings coaches that he can play linebacker at the combine and bowls games, and especially at his personal workout at Georgia Tech.
O'Leary originally recruited Rogers as a fullback. But when O'Leary saw how well Rogers ran, he knew he should be moved to a play-making position. That same yen for speed is something O'Leary saw throughout the Vikings' picks.
"I think we're getting speed," O'Leary said of the Vikings' draft picks. "With the picks I've seen, I think we're getting speed. You can't hit what you can't catch."
Nick Rogers Profile
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