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5 Things to Know About New Vikings OLB Benton Whitley 

#51 Benton Whitley

The Vikings are adding depth to their outside linebackers room.

Minnesota has signed Benton Whitley to its active roster, the team announced Wednesday.

Whitley was signed to the Chiefs active roster on Sept. 21 but waived and signed to their practice squad last week. He initially joined the Rams as an undrafted free agent this spring.

Here are five things to know about the Vikings newest edge rusher:

1. Former Crusader

Whitley played collegiately at Holy Cross, where as a fifth-year senior in 2021 he started all 13 games at defensive end. According to the Crusaders website, he totaled 49 tackles, 5.5 sacks, 11.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble.

Whitley got his start at Holy Cross as a backup linebacker in 2017 but moved to defensive end in as a sophomore in 2018.

Whitley attended Minnechaug Regional High School in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, where he earned All-State honors as a senior on the football team and was a two-time First-Team All-Western Massachusetts selection.

In addition, Whitley broke the school record with 14 career sacks.

He didn't only excel at football, though. Whitley also lettered in wrestling, posting a 49-1 record in 2016 and winning state and Western Massachusetts titles.

View photos of the Vikings 53-man roster as of Jan. 14, 2023.

3. Interest in STEM

Whitley graduated from Holy Cross with a degree in biology.

During his final year at the school, he worked as an undergraduate research assistant at Holy Cross' virology/immunology lab.

He also completed a technology internship with Dell EMC in 2020.

4. Admirable work ethic

Whitley has garnered a reputation for hard work that's gotten him to the NFL.

In May, Western Mass News spoke with Whitley's high school football and wrestling coach, Will Nickerson, who called him "the hardest worker in the room."

"You hear that analogy a lot, but that is Benton Whitley," Nickerson said.

The coach noted that Whitley and other students used to wager cookies at lunchtime on who would receive the highest grade on an exam.

"He was competitive in everything he did," Nickerson said.

5. New England addition

Whitley joins Vikings practice squad center Josh Sokol (Hopkinton) as the two Massachusetts natives in Minnesota's locker room.