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Welcome To The Big Show: Ryan D’Imperio

[EDITOR’S NOTE:  Over the last few weeks, we posted some in-depth articles that allow you to better know the newest Vikings draft class.  Click the links to read about Chris CookToby GerhartEverson GriffenChris DegeareNate Triplett, Joe Webb, and Mickey Shuler.]

In high school, Ryan D’Imperio did it all.  In the NFL, he may be asked to show off that versatility in order to earn a roster spot on the Minnesota Vikings

As a senior at Washington Township High School, D’Imoperio was voted as his team’s captain and MVP for his contributions in all phases of the game.  As an inside linebacker he notched 54 tackles, 11 for a loss, three sacks, and one interception.  As a fullback he rushed for 1,268 yards on a 7.3 yards per carry average.  He also was a bright spot on special teams coverage and also kicked two field goals.

The production was nothing new for D’Imperio, as he had very similar numbers in his junior year topped off by 14 rushing touchdowns.

Oh, and he also excelled in baseball and track.

After playing in a high school All Star competition at Rutgers Stadium, D’Imperio went on to enroll at Rutgers.  As a freshman, he was active for all thirteen games but was primarily a special teams player where he recorded two tackles.

D’Imperio was in line for some extra playing time as a sophomore, but faced his first set back when he broke his leg during spring drills.  He ended up getting back into shape quick enough to contribute in 11 games, including the last game of the year which was his first career start.  In his sophomore campaign, D’Imperio managed 14 tackles, 2.5 for a loss, and a fumble recovery.

He started every game of his junior season at inside linebacker and had very impressive production.  With 93 tackles, 43 solo, 12 for a loss, five sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception, D’Imperio was beginning to build a name for himself.

In his senior year, D’Imperio saw a dip in production as he notched 76 tackles, eight for a loss, once sack and one interception.

At D’Imperio’s pro day, however, most of his production and stats at the linebacker position was thrown out the window by one team executive of the Vikings.  The Vikings asked D’Imperio to run through some full back drills and he honored their request.

Apparently, the Vikings liked what they saw as they decided to use their final draft pick of the seventh round (#237 overall) on the linebacker from Rutgers.  The Vikings wasted no time in announcing that he would be playing the full back position, in addition to competing for special teams playing time.

This means that Fahu Tahi is on notice and will see some fierce competition for reps.  With the additions of both D’Imperio and Toby Gerhart, Tahi’s time in Minnesota could be done.

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2 Responses to “Welcome To The Big Show: Ryan D’Imperio”

  1. fozz44 says:

    “Tahi’s time in Minnesota could be done”

    Most beautiful thing I’ve ready today.

  2. Mark S says:

    D’Imperio is headed for the PS unless he is tearing it up on special teams and shows that he can also learn the LB spot too.

    It will take a year at least for him to learn all the intricacies of blitz pickup in the NFL.

    I think that in 2011 he will earn that spot.

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