With their second of two seventh round picks, the Vikings selected Rutgers LB / FB Ryan D’Imperio. Here are his quotes from a call with the media:
Q: How were the last couple of hours for you? Were you still thinking you could get drafted, or were you looking ahead to free agency?
A: Actually, the last couple of hours I was actually traveling back to school. I was talking to my agent, and we were going over all the possibilities. As I was talking to him a few teams called me, and then the Vikings called me and gave me probably the greatest news I’ve ever heard.
Q: What were you hearing from your agent and coaches on draft expectations?
A: Most coaches were talking to me about free agency. My agent and I were going over all possible choices concerning free agency and where to go, what would give me the best opportunity. Now, I don’t have to go there, and that was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.
Q: How would you describe yourself as a player?
A: Very hard-working. I’m one of the hardest working players there is. I don’t think anybody will out-work me. I’m physical, and everything I learn in the meeting room, I apply to the field right away.
Q: Did you know anything about the Vikings defense before you ended up getting drafted?
A: Yes, when I came on my visit I met with the offensive coordinator, the defensive coordinator, the linebackers coach, and also the running backs coach. As far as defense goes, I’m going to be a fullback. I talked to the running backs coach, and that’s what I’m going to come there to be.
Q: They are bringing you here as a fullback?
Q: You came here with the top-30 visit, is that right?
A: Yes, I did. I came and I actually had a great time. I met all of the coaches and a lot of the players, took a tour of the facility, and I really enjoyed it a lot.
Q: What is the transition going to be like, going from linebacker to fullback? Did you play fullback in high school, or early in your career in college?
A: I played it in high school. I didn’t play it in college, but I played it in high school. It’s all about collision, blocking. It’s the same whether you’re on offense or defense, you just don’t have the ball in your hands. That’s all that matters, to just go out there. Whatever they tell me to do, I’m going to do it the best I can. As far as learning, it’s the same whether you’re on offense or defense. You have to take stuff from the meeting room and apply it on the field. I feel like I do that very well.
Q: Did any other teams approach you about that, or did you talk to any other teams about changing positions?
A: There were a few teams. The Ravens talked to me, the Chiefs talked to me. I had San Francisco talk to me, the Jets. There were a few teams out there that talked about it.
Q: Do you feel like that’s maybe the quickest way to get on the field?
A: Honestly, it’s not about the quickest way to get on the field. It’s wherever I can help the team the most. Wherever they want, wherever they feel like I can help the team, that’s what I want to do. Honestly, I just want to play. I can care less where I play or how I play. I just love the game and I want to play.
Q: Did they talk to you about that transition when you were here?
A: Yes, that’s something that we went over. I met with the offensive coordinator and the running backs coach – Coach (Eric) Bieniemy – and it was great. I really thought that I clicked with them. The terminology and the playbook are a little bit different, but that’s something that I can really adjust to. And, I’ll work on and off the field as hard as I can to get that down.
Q: What was that process like? Did they put you in front of film and try to diagnose where blitzes are coming from?
A: I was in there in a running backs meeting, just with a couple of running backs. They were going over protections – slide protections and base protections. I was getting a little bit adjusted with it, but it was more so just seeing how it works. When I’m there I’m going to go into a lot more detail and learn a lot more about it.
Q: Have you talked to any current Vikings?
A: There were a few players there that I talked to. Mostly, the running backs that were in the running backs room, and whoever else was around. But, for the most part, a lot of the players weren’t there yet when I was there.