EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings added Ross Blacklock to their defensive line group.
Minnesota received Blacklock and a 2023 seventh-round pick from Houston in exchange for a 2023 sixth-round pick, the team announced Tuesday.
The transaction came amid Vikings roster and other moves to arrive at their final 53-man roster for the 2022 season.
Blacklock was drafted 40th overall by the Texans in 2020. Houston acquired the pick in a trade that sent DeAndre Hopkins to the Cardinals for David Johnson.
Over the past two seasons, he played in 29 games (three starts) and totaled 36 tackles, 2.0 sacks, two passes defensed and a forced fumble.
Here are five things to know about Minnesota’s new defensive lineman:
Coming out of Texas Christian University as a redshirt junior in 2020, Blacklock has garnered a lot of attention.
Blacklock was ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in the draft by analysts Bucky Brooks (NFL Network) and Dane Brugler (The Football Club) and was ranked No. 5 among the position group by Mel Kiper of ESPN and analysis site Pro Football Focus.
In his final season with the Horned Frogs, Blacklock started all 12 games that he played and recorded 40 tackles, nine tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks, the latter of which tied for the team lead. He was named First Team All-Big 12 for the 2019 campaign.
2. Getting to know a Vikings coach
Blacklock may be new to Minnesota, but he’s not completely unfamiliar with its coaching staff.
Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph worked as the Texans outside linebackers coach in 2020 when Houston drafted Blacklock.
Blacklock’s father, Jimmy, toured with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1974-87 and appeared on TV shows such as ABC’s Wide World of Sports and The Tonight Show before serving full-time as the Globetrotters coach. In February 2020, Jimmy was honored as a Globetrotter Legend the same weekend Ross attended the NFL Scouting Combine.
Jimmy Blacklock was one of the first African-American basketball players of the University of Texas; in 2016, he was inducted into the school’s sports hall of fame.
In July, Blacklock joined Texans linebacker Garret Wallow, along with the team mascot and two Texans cheerleaders, on an NFL trip to Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico.
The group participated in youth football and cheer clinics, spent time with fans and also started some sightseeing.
“This experience was really fun,” Blacklock told Texans TV host Drew Dougherty. “Really an eye-opening experience. To be able to be here with our fans from Mexico, to get all the love and support from another country, to know their culture, I’m excited to keep learning and I’m excited to be here.”
Blacklock has his own line of merchandise featuring a self-adopted mantra, “Underdawg Mentality.”
“Trust yourself as a player, believe in yourself and let your work speak for itself,” Blacklock told Style Magazine. “I wanted to create something for athletes that they can relate to. Everyone has potential… That’s kind of what it stands for.”
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