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Weatherly, Kearse Soak Up 1st Vikings Walkthrough

Posted May 6, 2016

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — The first walkthrough practice was only an hour or so, but seventh-round pick Stephen Weatherly was already dabbing sweat from his brow Friday afternoon.

The Vanderbilt product mostly played outside linebacker in college but is projected to line up as a defensive end for the Vikings.

Weatherly spent a few minutes after Friday’s walkthrough working on footwork and hand placement drills with assistant defensive line coach Robert Rodriguez.

“It’s been a while since I’ve played strictly D-line,” Weatherly said. “It’s getting back to basics.

“I did it in high school and my first year in college, so it’s basically knocking off some of the rust,” he added.

Weatherly said he hopes to pick up the position change sooner rather than later, adding he’s dived headfirst into the transition.

“It’s a lot different than when I used to do it back in college,” Weatherly said. “I’m learning how the Vikings want me to do it.

“They give great feedback every play,” Weatherly added.

At 6-foot-4 and 267 pounds, Weatherly has the size, length and athleticism Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer looks for in a player at the post.

Moments after the extra session Weatherly was welcomed to the Vikings by Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf.

Weatherly, who tallied 11.5 sacks in three seasons at Vanderbilt, said he hadn’t had an eye-opening professional moment just yet. 

“Not yet but it’s bound to come eventually,” Weatherly said. “When it does, I’ll take it head on.”

Safety Jayron Kearse, a fellow seventh-round selection, also soaked up as much as he could during the walkthrough.

Kearse noted he received plenty of instruction from Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer and defensive backs coach Jerry Gray, adding his main focus is simply not to make the same mistake twice.

“(The walkthrough) went really well today,” Kearse said. “I learned a lot from Coach Zimmer and Coach Gray.

“We definitely got a lot of work done,” he added. “It was good seeing a lot of my teammates – a lot of guys want to work, a lot of guys want to be great. It was all good the first day.”

Zimmer said the Vikings had the 6-foot-4 Kearse rated higher than a seventh-round pick on their draft board and were happy to nab him with the 244th overall pick.

“He’s a big athlete that moves well,” Zimmer said. “I think he had an up-and-down season honestly, but I’m excited to work with big athletes.”

The former Clemson standout said he wasn’t sure what to expect from Zimmer, who is known as a no-nonsense type coach who demands the most from his players.

Kearse said he was somewhat surprised by the first impression.

“It’s actually not what I expected,” Kearse said. “I thought he was going to be really, really tough on us, but [he wasn’t].

“Maybe it’s just because it’s the first day and he’s not really like that right now,” Kearse added. “He seems like a great coach and a great teacher. He wants his players to be great, and myself wanting to be great, it’s great to have a guy like him.”

Vikings.com’s Lindsey Young @LindseyMNSports contributed to this report.