Defensive tackle Joe Anoai was called an "unquestioned defensive leader" of the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets by NFLDraftScout.com and "a try-hard prospect whose motor never stops" by Scout.com.
But the 6-foot-3, 303-pounder who has agreed to a rookie free-agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings may have to prove himself at both defensive tackle spots in order to earn a rotational role on the team's 53-man roster this season.
Pro Bowlers Pat Williams and Kevin Williams are the unquestioned starters, and with Spencer Johnson and Darrion Scott offering flexibility along the defensive as well, Anoai and other undrafted defensive linemen will have to make a name for themselves in the team's spring and summer camps.
While wrestling is in the family blood – his father Leati and uncle Afa formed the tag team "Wild Samoans" – Anoai will have to prove he isn't too small for life in the trenches. He has been adding weight the last few years, which should help, but he never did possess a great change of direction, according to multiple pre-draft analyses.
Anoai was a three-year starter at Georgia Tech, where he registered 40 tackles, including nine for losses, and 4.5 sacks in his senior season.
Scout.com calls him a "hard-working defender who plays with intelligence. Chases hard to get involved in the action and flies around the play. Gives effort defending the run or rushing the passer. Experienced at both the tackle and end. "
In four seasons with the Yellow Jackets, Anoai finished his career with 108 tackles, 12 sacks and 29 ½ tackles-for-loss. His 12 sacks rank 14th all-time in Georgia Tech history, and he was an all-ACC defender in his senior season.
Versatility Could Be Key for OL
Viking Update Top Stories
Vikings release 2014 3rd-round pick CrichtonAfter a lackluster three years with the Minnesota Vikings, Scott Crichton is out on the open market.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 11:10 AM
Vikings interview subject has size, potentialThe Minnesota Vikings interviewed a versatile offensive lineman at the NFL Scouting Combine that knows he needs to work on his technique but is confident in his abilities.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 9:07 AM
Vikings create space with Robison's new dealThe Minnesota Vikings and Brian Robison reached a deal that will extend him for one year with advantages and disadvantages.
Viking UpdateYesterday at 7:00 AM
NFL proposes 15 rules changesNFL owners will consider 15 different changes to the rules next week, some proposed by teams and some proposed by the Competition Committee and one that changes who makes the final…
Viking UpdateYesterday at 4:22 AM
Lot to like, question as Vikings work out DLThe Minnesota Vikings showed significant interest in a defensive tackle by working him out and likely wanted to get a better sense of his thinking, temperament and technique.
Viking UpdateThursday at 1:41 PM