The biggest “tweener” in this year’s NFL draft, Washington State’s defensive Mr. Everything, Hercules Mata’afa, may have gone undrafted, but it took less than half an hour after the final pick was made for the Minnesota Vikings to scoop him up as an undrafted free agent.
At 4:33 p.m. on Saturday, Mata’afa tweeted a picture of the Vikings logo with the caption: “Thank you.”
— Hercules Mata'afa (@herculesuluao50) April 28, 2018
Mata’afa leaving Washington State early was a popular source of conversation among Pac-12 football fans and media. With his status as a tweener — great at the college level, though perhaps too small to excel at his same position in the NFL — many argued that Mata’afa should have remained for one more year, despite being named the Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year as a junior.
Washington State’s first consensus All-America defensive lineman in 15 years, Mata’afa is 6-foot-2, 252 pounds, undersized for a defensive tackle in the NFL, though he has obviously proven he can compete and thrive at every level up to this point.
He joins a stout Viking defense that ranked No. 1 in the NFL in 2017.