Vikings' pick at No. 213: Penn State linebacker Michael Mauti
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- The Minnesota Vikings took a second linebacker from Penn State on the third day of the NFL draft Saturday, selecting Michael Mauti.
Mauti, who is 6-foot-1, 243 pounds, has a history of knee issues, having torn the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee twice and the ACL in his right knee once while in college. He again tore the ACL in his left knee near the end of last season.
"I've been rehabbing and just getting back, I feel great," Mauti said. "I've been sprinting and doing some things as far as agility. Really, it's going to be a good summer of getting therapy, getting right and healthy and be ready for preseason camp."
Mauti admitted that he probably will be limited in the Vikings' offseason workouts early on but expects he will be good to go when training camp begins.
Mauti played weak-side linebacker as a senior but is projected to be able to play in the middle. The Vikings, of course, need to find a middle linebacker to replace Jasper Brinkley, who signed with the Arizona Cardinals as a free agent.
Mauti first tore the ACL in his right knee during an August practice in 2009 and missed what would have been his sophomore season. He did receive a medical redshirt.
He returned in 2010 and started seven of the 11 games in which he appeared. All of his starts came at outside linebacker. He missed one game because of a sprained ankle and another because of a shoulder injury but finishd fifth on the team with 68 tackles and had two sacks and 5.5 tackles for loss.
Mauti made four starts at outside linebacker in 2011 and had 21 tackles and his first interception before he tore the ACL in his left knee.
Last season, Mauti started the first 11 games at outside linebacker before he tore his left ACL again in November and missed the final game. He was second on Penn State with a career-high 95 tackles and added 2.5 sacks and four tackles for a loss. Mauti was named the Big Ten Linebacker of the Year.
He was projected as a third- to fourth-round pick by some.
Pro Football Weekly's draft guide says that Mauti has "outstanding instincts," and has, "superb work habits," and is a, "vocal leader." This was especially important last season considering all the adversity the Penn State program faced.
"Just going through the situations we went through at Penn State," Mauti said, "and given the whole scandal and all that stuff, we were able to kind of take control of our own program. We just viewed all that adversity as an opportunity for us to kind of show a lot of positives in a really screwed up situation."
Mauti said in December he sent a letter to all 32 front offices in the NFL assuring the clubs that he would be fine and that his knees would not be an issue.
Mauti's father, Rich, played wide receiver at Penn State before spending six seasons with the New Orleans Saints (1977-83) and one with the Washington Redskins (1984). Mauti's brother, Patrick, also played wide receiver for Penn State from 2005 to 2009.