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Hercules Mata’afa isn’t an undersized defensive tackle anymore

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Somebody’s been hitting the weights

Atlanta Falcons v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images

For the past couple of seasons, Minnesota Vikings fans have been intrigued by the potential of Hercules Mata’afa. Though he had a strong college career at Washington State, one of the knocks on him has been his lack of size, as he’s been working as a defensive tackle for most of his time in Minnesota.

Lack of size does not appear to be an issue for Mata’afa anymore.

On Sunday, Mata’afa posted a picture of himself weighing in at 289 pounds. As a point of reference, the Vikings’ team website has him listed at 254. Based on a picture he put on Twitter about a month ago, it doesn’t appear to be “sitting on the couch” weight, either.

Despite having been named a Consensus All-American and the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year in his final season at Washington State, Mata’afa went undrafted and signed with the Vikings as a free agent after the draft was completed. After missing a season with a torn ACL that he suffered during OTAs, he made the 53-man roster in 2019 but was only active for six games.

With the Vikings having some issues on the interior of the defensive line now that Linval Joseph has departed, it will be interesting to see if a bulked-up Hercules Mata’afa could potentially step in and fill that void. If he’s added this much size without sacrificing the quickness that made him so outstanding in college, he could end up being a pretty serious factor for what will be a new-look Vikings defensive line.