We know that the Minnesota Vikings have a lot of questions at the linebacker position, right down to who's actually going to play the position for the Vikings this coming season. We know that rookie Anthony Barr is going to get on the field, and Chad Greenway probably isnt going anywhere, despite it looking like he's in a pretty steep decline. But the team is going to have to give some other players a look at the position.
As the Minneapolis Star-Tribune points out, one of the main guys that we probably need to keep an eye on for the spot is second-year man Michael Mauti. Mauti, one of the team's seventh-round picks in the 2013 draft out of Penn State, definitely figures to at least push for time at the middle linebacker position.
One of the reasons for the belief in Mauti. . .who has been a favorite here at DN since he was drafted. . .is that this is the first time in three years that he hasn't had to spend the off-season rehabbing a serious injury. After tearing his right ACL in 2009, he tore the left one in 2011. So, he had to spend his time before his senior year at Penn State rehabbing that injury.
Then, as a senior, he tore his left ACL again in 2012, so he had to spend the off-season leading to the NFL Draft rehabbing that injury.
Now, following a rookie season that saw him play mostly on special teams, he has gotten to go through an actual off-season workout program that doesn't involve injury rehab, and frankly I'm anxious to see the results.
On a lot of Mauti's pre-draft scouting reports from that year, the consensus was that he could have, at the very least, been a second-day draft pick. . .if he wasn't such a health risk. But he was, and that's what caused him to fall to the draft's final selections in 2013.
Mauti has gotten a lot of work with the first-team defense in OTAs so far, though that has been decreased with the return of Anthony Barr after his completion of his commitment to UCLA and Chad Greenway playing more frequently at middle linebacker (both in the base defense and in sub-packages).
The linebacker position is going to be one to keep an eye on for the Vikings in Training Camp. . .it's not that they don't have talent at the position, but so much of it is unproven at this point. That's why it wouldn't surprise me to see a (finally) healthy Mike Mauti leading the charge at the position.