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Mackensie Alexander Brings Competitive Spirit to Vikings

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Mackensie Alexander is ready to go to work.

The Vikings selected the Clemson defensive back Friday night with the 54th overall pick in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft, a move that added to Minnesota's depth at defensive back.

Alexander stands at 5-foot-10 but isn't short on confidence. As much was evident in his media session at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.

"I get the confidence from where I come from," said Alexander, who hails from Immokalee, Florida. "You only gain confidence if you work at it and you know you put in the work.

"My parents instilled that in me," Alexander added.

The 22-year-old later expanded on his work ethic, saying it was established in his hometown of Immokalee, which has a high population of migrant farm workers who pick oranges and tomatoes. Alexander's parents are originally from Haiti.

"This means a lot, like I said, it's bigger than me." Alexander said. "It's for my town, my community, my Haitian folks, my Mexican folks watching this on TV because Lord knows every morning we get up and go to work.

"I watched my parents pick oranges and tomatoes and we used to do it. For me, I grew up around people who just work, work, work," he added. "That's what my town of Immokalee teaches you to do: work and strive for something because there's nothing around but for you to work and go in the hot sun and pick oranges and pick tomatoes or go work at the factory."

A redshirt sophomore who helped lead Clemson to last season's national championship game, Alexander is the 13th defensive back Minnesota has drafted in the second round.

The 190-pound Alexander said he is looking forward to learning under the tutelage of Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer.

"It's going to be great," Alexander said. "Coach Zimmer is familiar with the cornerback position.

"I'm extremely excited about that and really eager to learn from him," Alexander added. "I'm very coachable."

Alexander also said he's excited to learn from the cornerbacks already on the Vikings roster, including Trae Waynes, who will be 38 next season.

"It's a team sport and I know Newman has been in the game for a long time," Alexander said. "He's a vet and he's been playing for a long time so I'm eager to sit behind him and learn."

"Just soak it all up," Alexander added. "A guy like that, that's who you learn from."

Alexander was a second-team All-American in 2015 as he recorded 30 total tackles with six pass breakups.

Alexander tallied 22 tackles as a redshirt freshman with six pass breakups.

"I like the kid because he's quick and tough," NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said moments after the pick.

Alexander didn't record an interception in 2015 but he also didn't allow a touchdown.

"I was asked to follow the best receiver every week and eliminate them from their game plan," Alexander said. "Just win those matchups.

"I was also asked to play inside and play zone, play multiple things," Alexander added. "Whatever the Vikings want me to do I'm ready for it."

Alexander's initial task might be going against fellow rookie Laquon Treadwell, the wide receiver the Vikings taken with the 23rd overall pick on Thursday.

Alexander said he's up for the any challenge thrown his way.

"That's going to be fun." Alexander said. "I got a chance to get to know him. He's an extremely gifted guy and can do a lot of things well. I'm excited about that. I'm going to have fun competing."

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