A few days ago, we made mention of the fact that Hercules Mata’afa was, apparently, seeing some time at defensive tackle during the early portions of OTAs for the Minnesota Vikings. I had some concerns with that, most of which centered around Mata’afa’s lack of size, as the team website still has him listed as being just over 250 pounds.
Yeah. . .apparently that’s not a concern anymore.
Mike Zimmer said on KFAN’s #92Noon that #Vikings DT Hercules Mata’afa has “been the surprise of camp” so far.— Sean Borman (@SeanBoarMan) May 29, 2019
Zimmer reporter Mata’afa is now up to 275 pounds and at times has reminded him of 7-time Pro Bowler Geno Atkins, who he coached in Cincinnati.
In an interview with Paul Allen on KFAN, Vikings’ head coach Mike Zimmer informed everyone that Mata’afa is now tipping the scales at 275 pounds. In addition, not only has he been working at defensive tackle, but he has been “the surprise of camp” to this point in the offseason program.
The comparison to Geno Atkins is pretty awesome, too.
Since tearing his ACL just under a year ago, Mata’afa has apparently been putting in some serious work. While the skepticism about his ability to regularly contribute as a defensive tackle may have been justified prior to these revelations, I think we can safely shelve those concerns.
Between his bulking up and being able to be developed by the outstanding Andre Patterson, there’s even more reason to be excited about what Hercules Mata’afa can do for this Minnesota defense. He could be the next in a long line of players that were drafted in the lower rounds or that were undrafted entirely to make big contributions to the defensive side of the ball for the purple.