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Meet Matt Kalil's Backup: Rookie Austin Shepherd


With Matt Kalil officially listed as questionable this week because of a toe injury, we thought you might want to know more about Austin Shepherd, a seventh-round pick in 2015 who is next in line on the unofficial depth chart.

Shepherd has played in the jumbo package and in spot duty at right tackle for T.J. Clemmings when Shepherd's fellow rookie was briefly sidelined in Chicago. He's also played on special teams and has already gotten involved in the community, joining Vikings teammates at the University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital last month for the Halloween Huddle hosted by John Sullivan.

Shepherd started 27 games at right tackle in his final two seasons at Alabama and was only assessed two sacks allowed during that time.

We caught up with Shepherd for a Timeout.

Q: Do you have any nicknames?

A: Shep; I've been called that since I was born

Q: In what city were you born/what's your hometown?

A: Atlanta; I lived in Buford, Georgia, about 10 minutes from the Falcons headquarters

Q: Do you have any brothers/sisters?

A: One sister named Holly

Q: Who has been your biggest inspiration?

A: My dad

Q: Where were you when you were drafted and who were you with?

A: I was on my [then fiancée's, now wife's] farm in a place called Arab, Alabama, out in the boonies with her family and my family and some buddies.

Q: What do you like about going out there?

A: Country. I'm a country guy, so I can go on the front porch and shoot guns if I want.

Q: Major in college?

A: I have two degrees, undergrad in business management and a master's in marketing; sales was my favorite class

Q: Proudest football moment

A: Winning back-to-back national championships at Alabama (2011-12)

Q: First thing that comes to mind when you hear Vikings?

A: A big, grisly, bearded dude.

Q: If you weren't playing football, what would you be doing?

A: Probably medical sales.

Q: Any hobbies?

A: Yeah, I enjoy wake boarding.

Q: Favorite food?

A: Sushi; I just like it.

Q: Favorite car?

A: I have an F-150, but I want a G Wagon.

Q: Musical artist or genre?

A: Everything, country, rock, rap

Q: First thing you did with your first NFL paycheck?

A: I opened a savings account. I'm not going to buy anything. I've got everything I need.

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