Rookie Lineman Told Vikings GM About Lone ‘Need’ in Draft-Night Call

Walter Rouse II, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Walter Rouse II #78 of the Minnesota Vikings.

The Minnesota Vikings return four of five starters along the offensive line from last season. Christian Darrisaw is at left tackle (in the final year of his contract) and Brian O’Neill is at right. Center Garrett Bradbury and right guard Ed Ingram are also in place.

Starting left guard Dalton Risner’s future is the only one that remains in the air.

He is seeking what he says is a fair deal. Even with those pieces in place, General Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah raved about what he saw from offensive tackle Walter Rouse on film.

The Vikings selected Rouse with the No. 177 overall pick in the sixth round of the 2024 draft.

“Oh man, thank you very much,” Rouse told Adofo-Mensah in a call revealed in footage from the draft released by the team on May 20. “All I need is the opportunity. Thank you so much. I appreciate it.”

“Finally, I’ve made it to into the NFL, and just working to make the 53-man roster,” Rouse said of his selection on Day 3 of the draft. “And just thinking about all those different thoughts and just see the people around me. See their smiles and laughs and that the hard work that they put into me, that that paid off.

“I can’t believe I’m here. I’m so excited to get to work. It’s awesome. All the people I’ve met are awesome too, and I can’t wait to grow with the Minnesota Vikings and the family that they have here. And with the fans as well.”

He certainly has a fan in Adofo-Mensah.

“Rouse, come on, baby. Believe in the projections. Believe!” Adofo-Mensah said.“He was getting after dudes in the run game this year. Rouse. I love that.

“I do love this guy.”

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah Grew Nervous Over Walter Rouse

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Minnesota Vikings

GettyGeneral Manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

Adofo-Mensah apologized to offensive line coach Chris Kuper for making him wait so long before they added some help. He had expressed some tongue-in-cheek doubts about Rouse making it to the Vikings as he did.

The Vikings selected quarterback J.J. McCarthy and edge defender Dallas Turner with picks Nos. 10 and 17, respectively, securing both via trade.”

Both picks energized the Vikings’ draft war room.

“It’s not going to happen,” Adofo-Mensah said. “We got too many nice things on Day 1. We don’t we don’t deserve other nice things.”

Listed at 6-foot-6 and 313 pounds, Rouse was a three-year performer at Stanford before transferring to Oklahoma for his senior season. He has the prototypical build and disposition for tackle, even on the right side where he has little experience.

“Rouse possesses the size and intelligence coaches like, and he might be able to continue improving if he can get stronger and prove he can play on the right side as well,”’s Lance Zierlein wrote pre-draft. “He tends to anchor enough and maintain a level of stickiness as a run blocker, even when it looks a little disheveled. Rouse has played almost exclusively as a left tackle but might be in consideration as a solid swing tackle prospect with some upside.”

Walter Rouse Could Be in Mix at 2 Positions for Vikings

Walter Rouse II, Minnesota Vikings

GettyWalter Rouse II #78 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Vikings senior vice president of player personnel Ryan Grigson also suggested the Vikings could explore Rouse’s versatility.

That would come down the line though.

“I saw Rouse at the East-West [Shrine Bowl],” Grigson said on ”#92Noon!” on April 29. “He was one of the first guys that popped, really, just because he’s so big and he has [good] feet. He wasn’t perfect. But there’s a lot to work with. A lot of tools that Kup can work with. And again, Kwesi really liked him, Kup really liked him, I liked him, scouts liked him. So there was this collective buy-in on him.

“He bends. He doesn’t get knocked backwards. That’s one of two of his highest traits, were feet and the ability to not get knocked back by power. So I think there’s even a chance that he could play guard at some point.

“Right now, I think he’s a guy that could, in a year, be a really good tackle. So it’s nice to get him in the fray.”

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