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Walter Rouse: Eagle Scout, Stanford Biomedical Engineer, Oklahoma Tackle, Vikings Draft Pick

2024 Draft Selection 2560x1440_Rouse

EAGAN, Minn. — Walter Rouse began playing football a little later than some, but the tackle discovered his true love for the sport.

Rouse hooped it up in Silver Spring, Maryland, just outside of Washington, D.C., before dabbling on the gridiron by seventh grade.

In middle school, he watched Stanford admission videos on YouTube, looking at the campus across the country with help from technology.

His transition went from Eagle Scout to an All-State offensive tackle at Sidwell Friends School, graduating with Sasha Obama.

As his football trajectory kept rising, he remained focused on what will follow football one day, earning a biomechanical engineering degree from Stanford.

After making 39 starts in 40 games for the Cardinal from 2019-2022, Rouse transferred to Oklahoma and started all 13 games for the Sooners in 2023, improving his draft stock.

The Vikings opened the sixth round of the 2024 NFL Draft by selecting Rouse with the 177th overall pick.

Rouse's medical career can wait … for now.

"Whenever I'm done with football, I still plan on pursuing all those things," Rouse said. "When I first got to Stanford, I wasn't planning on going to the NFL, just doing that to get an education and play football, but especially after my sophomore year, something changed in me where I truly fell in love with the game of football.

"After that moment, there's nothing I wanted to do but just play in the NFL. It can be a flaw sometimes, but I just, I'm a perfectionist; I want to be the best at everything, I want to do everything perfect, I want to do everything right," Rouse added. "Leaving Stanford, going to the place like Oklahoma, I knew that's what I needed to do to get to where I am right now, being in front of you guys, having an opportunity to be drafted, to be a better player."

Rouse garnered Honorable Mention All-Pac-12 honors in 2020 and 2022 but really hit another stride once he got to Oklahoma.

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds and with an arm length of 35 inches, Rouse joins Minnesota after starting all 13 games at left tackle in his lone season with the Sooners. He earned Honorable Mention All-Big 12 and an invite to the East-West Shrine Bowl.

"I think he wanted to challenge himself," Vikings Director of College Scouting Mike Sholiton said. "He graduated in four years, he had started every game for four years at Stanford, played through [the COVID-19 pandemic], but felt like he had some unfinished business to do, wanted to improve his draft stock. So, he wanted to go kind to a football factory so, he chose Oklahoma over some bigger NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) offers.

"One of the things that kind of struck me to him, I was at the Alamo Bowl game when he chose to play in the game, even with 52 career starts, that was something that impressed me about him," Sholiton added. "It was a little bit of proving himself. He went on to play in the East-West Shrine game for another opportunity for exposure and really wanted to show the NFL what he could do."

The Vikings took notice, leading Rouse to a day he described as a "dream come true."

Rouse expressed his sincere gratitude to his family, including loved ones who have passed away — which include his father in 2019, as well as the grandfather he's named for.

Walter V. Rouse was an All-American baseball player at Loyola University of Chicago and made the game-winning shot in overtime of the 1963 NCAA Championship Game.

"It's been so many emotions going on today, and I know they're all looking down, proud of me, being able to one day play in the NFL and now I'm getting drafted by the Vikings," Rouse said. "This truly just means the world, thank you to the Wilf family, [General Manager] Kwesi [Adofo-Mensah], Coach [Kevin] O'Connell. I really have no words to describe how I'm feeling right now because I'm so happy and I just can't wait to get to work. The next chapter of my life starts now."