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Notebook: Gedeon Offers Flexibility on Vikings Defense

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. — Ben Gedeon was the first man up Friday in Seattle when he got the starting nod at outside linebacker next to Eric Kendricks and Anthony Barr.

The fourth-round pick isn't just stuck on the outside, however. The Vikings have lined up the rookie at multiple linebacker spots, a transition Gedeon has picked up seamlessly.

"A lot of it's very similar," Gedeon said. "Once you learn one of the positions, you learn Mike (middle), and you pretty much know all of Will (outside). It's easy to make that transition."

Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards said the organization has been impressed with the former University of Michigan standout since he arrived to Winter Park this spring.

"Ben's been pretty consistent with the opportunities he's had throughout the offseason, and it's been that way throughout training camp," Edwards said. "We'll look for him to continue to show that consistency throughout the preseason and see how it continues to go.

"He's done a good job thus far," Edwards added. "We've played him at a couple different positions, and he's seemed to handle it pretty good."

Gedeon said his progression has been slowly built over time, but added that playing in Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer's defense has been a thrill for him.

"I think the biggest thing for me right now is getting the schemes down. The preseason has been big for that, and I've been able to do it at a couple different positions. And the other guys have helped me out with that, so I think it's been great this preseason." 

"This kind of defense is good for linebackers – playing physical, playing fast so it's been fun," Gedeon later added. "(There's an) opportunity to make a lot of plays, especially with the D-line that we have. They do a great job with their jobs, so that opens up the linebackers to make a lot of plays."

Gedeon has been on the road the first two preseason games of his career. After impressing in Buffalo and Seattle, the linebacker said he's ready to show the home fans what he can do.

"Definitely, that will be fun," Gedeon said of playing in U.S. Bank Stadium. "We walked through there once when we got here, but other than that, I haven't seen much of it. We're excited."

Joseph a mentor for Jaleel Johnson:Rookie defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson has quite the mentor to look up to in Linval Joseph, who's entering his fourth year in Purple.

Johnson recently told media members that he studies Joseph's play, and the veteran tackle said it's encouraging to know that he's helping.

"I feel like he's going to be a very good kid," Joseph said. "He's going to help the team in great ways." 

Johnson has been playing well at the 3-technique position, and Joseph said that the position allows a little more freedom for younger players.

"At the nose [tackle] if you make one mistake, you're really messing up the defense," Joseph said. "There's less pressure on him as the [3-technique]."

Morgan striving to stand out:At 24 years old, David Morgan is the second-oldest tight end on Minnesota's roster.

He laughed a bit at the idea that a player just entering his second season is one of the "vets" of the group but said it also presents opportunity.

"We've got a young room," Morgan said, pointing out the gap between he and 27-year-old Kyle Rudolph. "We have a lot of youth in that room, so it's definitely time for some of us to step up and be ready to contribute."

Morgan spoke for the first-team offense as a whole in saying that it's a goal to score the first touchdown of the preseason against the 49ers on Sunday.

"I think we're building every week. We'll definitely have a couple more series [for first-team offense in game three]," Morgan said. "This is a big game for the offense, and we're ready to come out and put the ball into the end zone."

Added Morgan: "This is just a transition into the regular season. This is a big week for us, so we're treating it like it's Week 1."

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