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5 Things to Know About New Vikings DL Ross Blacklock

EAGAN, Minn. – The Vikings have 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 occurred amid Vikings roster cuts 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 had obtained 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:

1. Highly touted

Coming out of Texas Christian University as a redshirt junior in 2020, Blacklock had garnered plenty of attention.

Blacklock was ranked as the No. 4 defensive tackle in the draft by analysts Bucky Brooks (NFL Network) and Dane Brugler (The Athletic) and was ranked No. 5 among the position group by ESPN's Mel Kiper and analytics site Pro Football Focus.

In his final season with the Horned Frogs, Blacklock started all 12 games 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. Familiarity with Vikings coach

Blacklock may be new to Minnesota, but he isn't entirely unfamiliar with its coaching staff.

Vikings defensive line coach Chris Rumph worked as the Texans outside linebackers coach in 2020 when Houston drafted Blacklock.

3. Son of a Globetrotter

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 that Ross participated in the NFL Scouting Combine.

Jimmy Blacklock was one of the University of Texas' first African American basketball players; in 2016, he was inducted into the school's sports hall of fame.

4. Recently visited Mexico

In July, Blacklock joined Texans linebacker Garret Wallow, along with the team mascot and two Texans cheerleaders, on an NFL outreach trip to Monterrey and Mexico City, Mexico.

The group participated in youth football and cheer clinics, spent time with fans and also embarked on some sightseeing.

"This experience has been really fun," Blacklock told Texans TV host Drew Dougherty. "A really eye-opening experience. To be able to be out here with our fans from Mexico, getting all the love and support from another country, getting to know their culture, I'm excited to keep learning and I'm excited to be here."

5. Maintains underdog mindset

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. Everybody has potential. … That's kind of what it represents."