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Vikings Final 2 Picks Already Familiar with New Team

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. —Elijah Lee and Jack Tocho already have a scouting report on their new team.

Lee, a linebacker out of Kansas State, was selected with the 232nd overall pick, and Tocho, a cornerback out of North Carolina State, was tabbed at 245 overall as the 2017 NFL Draft wound down.

Both told Twin Cities media members in conference calls that they were happy with their destination.

"I'm just proud to be a Viking. That was one of my favorite teams and one of my top priorities, too, just because they showed so much love, and also there's K-State alums up there," Lee said before citing current Vikings Trae Waynes and Emmanuel Lamur, as well as fellow alum Ben Leber. "It's always nice to go into a situation where you know people instead of just random people."

Lee started 26 of 39 games he played for the Wildcats, recording 209 tackles (153 solo), 11 sacks, five interceptions, five pass breakups, 18.5 tackles for loss, three quarterback hits, three forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries.

Lee became a starter in 2015 as a sophomore and didn't miss a game in his final two seasons. He led the Wildcats in tackles in 2015 (80) and 2016 (110) and became the first Kansas State player to earn All-Big 12 honors in consecutive seasons since Arthur Brown in 2011 and 2012.

The five interceptions recorded by Lee are the most by a Wildcats linebacker under Head Coach Bill Snyder, and he said during the conference call that he has confidence in his coverage ability.

"I'm pretty confident in my game," Lee said. "Doesn't matter where I went; I just needed a foot in the door, and I'm going to take it and run with it."

The Vikings hosted Lee during the team's Top 30 visits with prospects. Linebackers coach Adam Zimmer also worked him out during Kansas State's Pro Day.

"He was a great kid, and those are the type of athletes that coaches like to work with," Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman said.

Tocho was the ninth selection by Minnesota on Saturday, the fourth selection in the seventh round and the 11th player drafted by the Vikings this year. 

He is the 103rd defensive back selected by Minnesota in franchise history, the most of any position group. The Vikings have now selected at least one cornerback in 11 of the past 12 drafts.

Tocho started 36 of the 49 games he played, totaling 122 tackles (98 solo), 26 pass breakups and six interceptions. He said he was quite familiar with Head Coach Mike Zimmer's work with defensive backs, including Newman.

"[Newman] has been in the league for a very long time, and I just cannot wait to get up there and work with him," Tocho said.

"I want to absorb as much time as I can with people that have paved the way and that know a lot of information and to play under a coach like Coach Zimmer will just be very beneficial not only for my career, but for my team as well," Tocho said.

After earning his accounting degree in three years, Tocho served as a team captain in 2016. He tallied nine tackles against Clemson and ranked second in the ACC with nine pass breakups on the season.

He was a semifinalist for the National Football Foundation's William Campbell Trophy, which is awarded to the sports top student athlete and a two-time Academic All-ACC designee.

Tocho also won multiple team awards, including the Bob Warren Award (integrity and sportsmanship) twice, the Dewayne Washington Award for Defensive Back of the Year (2014) and the Philip Rivers Award for Most Valuable Freshman.

The Wolfpack cornerback was invited to play in the East-West Shrine Game but played on the East squad that was coached by Arizona's Brentson Buckner instead of the West team that was led by Vikings Defensive Coordinator George Edwards.

Tocho is the son of Kenyan immigrants, and he has traveled to Africa multiple times. Another seventh round pick, Ifeadi Odenigbo, is the son of Nigerian immigrants.

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