Minnesota Vikings rookie Jaylen Twyman was shot four times while riding in a car in Washington, D.C., on Monday night, his agent told ESPN.
Twyman, 21, was the Vikings’ final draft pick in May. His emotional response to being selected in the sixth round with the No. 199 overall pick made him an instant fan favorite among the 2021 NFL Draft class.
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Twyman, among four victims in the shooting on Monday night, is expected to make a full recovery, per his agent.
“Wrong place, wrong time,” Twyman’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter on Tuesday. “In talking to him today, he’s going to be OK — that’s all that matters. We’re thankful he’s OK. He will make a full recovery.”
Twyman was struck by rounds in the arm, leg, buttocks and shoulder, but is expected to be released from a hospital later this week, Rosenhaus said.
Twyman Motivated to Escape Gun Violence
Twyman, standing 6-foot-2, 301 pounds, tested in the bottom 37th percentile in weight and 18th percentile in height of his draft class, per Mockdraftable.
What Twyman lacks in size, he makes up for in explosiveness. The Washington D.C. native tallied 41 tackles, 10.5 sacks in 13 games as a sophomore at Pittsburgh, becoming the first interior defensive lineman to lead the team in sacks since Aaron Donald in 2013.
Twyman’s motivation for continuing his football career has come hand-in-hand with helping his family escape poverty. He had previously lost two relatives to gun violence before Monday’s shooting, the Washington Post reported.
“My family members, every other week, one of them deceased or one of them just in a shootout or one of them locked up,” Twyman told Washington Post in 2016. “It’s just pushed me to try to get everybody, get all my family members, out of poverty. Nobody needs to be around this.”
Twyman’s uncle was killed during a drive-by shooting in 2014 within a mile of Monday’s shooting scene. In 2010, Twyman’s older brother was killed less than a mile from where he was shot, per the Washington Post.
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Mike Zimmer Sees Former Pro Bowler in Twyman
Twyman’s first step and strength set him apart in college and are both tools that coach Mike Zimmer hopes to build upon.
Reflecting on developing Geno Atkins, a former fourth-round pick, into an eight-time Pro Bowler, Zimmer sees similarities in Twyman and Atkins.
“When I had Geno Atkins and some of those guys that are a little bit smaller size guys, we look for nickel pass rushers, and they grow into the spot,” Zimmer said, referring to the role as a pass-rushing interior lineman during rookie minicamps.
“He had some big sack numbers [in 2019], and he’s athletic,” Zimmer said of Twyman. “The three-technique position we’re looking for guys that have the twitch and the acceleration.”
Zimmer and the Vikings coaching staff appear to view Twyman as a long-term developmental project after signing veteran interior pass-rusher Sheldon Richardson to the roster.