Minnesota Vikings training camp kicks off in 27 days, but they already have an “offseason standout,” according to ESPN.
On Monday, ESPN detailed surprising offseason standouts for all 32 NFL teams, and for the Vikings, that was rookie linebacker Brian Asamoah.
Asamoah joined the Vikings in April from the 3rd Round of the NFL draft, fruit of a trade with the Detroit Lions. With the 2022 Vikings, he’ll fight for the job as Minnesota’s primary backup linebacker — or next man up if injuries beset Eric Kendricks or Jordan Hicks.
ESPN’s Kevin Seifert said about Asamoah as the Vikings summer standout, “Asamoah’s sideline-to-sideline speed was plainly evident in non-contact practices, as was his confidence. He joked with an assistant coach that he wanted $5 every time he ran past someone.”
Indeed, with his speed, Asamoah actually resembles a safety on the field, not a prototypical off-ball linebacker as his job title suggests. Gone are the days of linebackers donning gigantic shoulder pads. Instead, linebackers are becoming leaner and quicker to combat the NFL’s offensive pivot to throwing the football.
Here’s some footage of Asamoah at Oklahoma. Notice the safety-like stature.
And as Minnesota shifts to a 3-4 defensive scheme — for the first time in 40 years — Ed Donatell will ask his defenders to be fast and agile.
Asamoah signed a four-year, $5.49 million deal with a signing bonus of $1.17 million in early June, fastening him to the Vikings depth chart until the end of the 2025 season. He’s a gridiron specimen noted for “freakish” tendencies. He ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash in the lead-up to the draft and was theorized by some as a 2nd-Round pick. Asamoah participated in 37 games after redshirting in 2018 but started 19 games in 2020 and 2021 for the Sooners.
Asamoah’s family originated in Ghana, the same country of which Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has lineage.
A lack of depth behind him benefits the rookie forecast for Asamoah. The Vikings have no “big-name” personalities after Asamoah on the depth chart. For now, it’s Troy Dye, Blake Lynch, Chazz Surratt, and Ryan Connelly. Accordingly, Asamoah should experience considerable playing time in 2022. And per ESPN, the start of Asamoah’s summer is a good omen for that.
Asamoah’s 40-yard dash time of 4.56 seconds was the same time recorded by New Orleans Saints running back Alvin Kamara during his draft lead-up.
Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).