The Vikings added to their safeties group from the 249th overall spot of the 2020 NFL Draft, selecting Mississippi State's Brian Cole II.
Cole, who measured 6-foot-2 and 213 pounds, was the second Bulldogs defensive back drafted by the Vikings this year, joining third-round selection Cam Dantzler.
"Man, I called [Cam] – as soon as I got off the phone with [the Vikings], I called him and said, 'Hey, I'm about to be your teammate [again]. You know what time it is – let's get it,' " Cole told Twin Cities media members via conference call. "He's just excited. We work well together."
Cole started 12 games as a hybrid safety/linebacker for the Bulldogs in 2019 and recorded 67 tackles, including 7.5 tackles for loss. He also added one interception, two passes defensed and 2.0 sacks, which led all Mississippi State DBs.
Here are five things to know about Cole:
1. Journey involved JuCo
Cole played at Michigan in 2015, during which he played three games at wide receiver and on special teams.
In 2016, he signed with East Mississippi Community College and transitioned to defensive back. He garnered attention in the secondary, recording 54 tackles, a sack, three forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for touchdown. He also blocked three kicks on special teams.
"That was my first year playing defense. I just had to get used to not touching the ball, not playing offense – tackling and reading offenses instead of reading a defense," Cole said. "When you go from a D-I school to a junior college, it's a major difference.
"Everything is just different," he added. "But it molded me. That's what humbled me; that's what got me to love the game of football again and brought the drive back."
View images of Brian Cole II from is days at Mississippi State.
2. Last Chance U
While at East Mississippi Community College, Cole was featured on the premier season of Last Chance U, a Netflix docu-series that follows players in junior college.
Cole was asked about that experience and playing for Head Coach Buddy Stephens, whose temper has earned a reputation.
"I played defense, and Coach Stephens was an offensive guy. He stayed on the offensive line," he said. "If you played offensive line, you did not want to deal with Coach Stephens. Other than that, he was a great guy.
"He gave me an opportunity, though. That's really all I can say," Cole added. "Playing for Coach Stephens was cool. Just with the cameras and the show, they make it seem like he's way crazier [than he is]. He's not that bad."
View the sketch of Vikings draft pick S Brian Cole II who was transformed into a caricature by local artist Erik Roadfeldt.
3. From Michigan to Minnesota
Cole grew up in Saginaw, Michigan, and he was ranked as a four-star prospect coming out of Heritage High School.
He shares an alma mater with former NFL safety Stuart Schweigert, whom the Raiders drafted in the third round (67th overall) in 2004.
Cole is one of six Michigan natives on Minnesota's roster, joining tight end Tyler Conklin (Chesterfield), wide receiver K.J. Osborn (Ypsilanti), defensive end Kenny Willekes (Rockford), Eric Wilson (Redford) and defensive end Anthony Zettel (West Branch).
Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins grew up near Chicago but moved to Holland, Michigan, in seventh grade and considers the Grand Rapids suburb his hometown.
4. Son of a police officer
Cole's father, Brian Cole, Sr., is a 25-year veteran of the Michigan State Police Department. Of those two-plus decades working in law enforcement, he spent 14 years as a polygraph examiner.
The younger Cole said his childhood was "strict" but added that he has tremendous respect for his father.
"He did lie-detecting examinations, so he does a lot of things where he can tell if you're lying and knows if you're telling the truth," he explained. "He's supportive, and he handles his business. He's a man that's going to get the job done. He leads by example in everything that he does."
In elementary school, Cole's father visited his classroom on "Bring Your Parents to School Day" and conducted a lie-detector test on his son for the other students.
"I don't even remember what he asked me, [but] I don't think I did pass," Cole laughed.
5. Senior Bowl participant
Cole received an invite to participate in the 2020 Reese's Senior Bowl and joined fellow Bulldog, tackle Tyre Phillips, in Mobile, Alabama for the all-star game.
Phillips and Cole also teamed together at East Mississippi State Community College. Baltimore drafted Phillips in the third round (106th overall).