May 3, 2012; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings linebacker Gerald Hodges (54) laughs during drills at the Minnesota Vikings rookie minicamp at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings 2013 Rookie Review: Gerald Hodges


The 2014 NFL draft is just over a month away, but while we’re thinking about what the Vikings will do this year, why not look at what they did last time around?

After looking through the rookie years for the Vikings first three picks from 2013, it’s time to move out of the first round and to the Vikings next pick on Day Three of the draft.

Due to the trade up with the Patriots to take Cordarrelle Patterson, the Vikings gave up all of their picks on Day Two, and they didn’t return to the action until they selected linebacker Gerald Hodges from Penn State in the fourth round with the 120th overall pick.

Draft Day

Coming into the draft, Hodges was known as the latest prospect from “Linebacker U,” as Penn State has been known for sending quality linebackers to the NFL. In fact, one of Hodges’ former teammates was San Francisco 49er Navarro Bowman.

A converted safety, Hodges was known for his ability to cover coming into the draft. Hodges was the 16th linebacker taken in 2013.

2013 Season

Coming into training camp, it was thought that Hodges might be able to compete for the starting weakside linebacker job, since the team only had Marvin Mitchell and Desmond Bishop in front of him. That competition never really materialized though, as Hodges had a nondescript showing throughout much of training camp and the preseason. At one point, Paul Allen even commented in the broadcast booth that he had not called Hodges’ name very often.

Hodges has the athletic ability to move and cover in space, but he did not show the coaching staff enough in practice last year to earn defensive snaps. At one point, the only weakside linebacker ahead of Hodges was Marvin Mitchell but the rookie still never found a way to move up.

ESPN’s Ben Goessling reported in his weekly mailbag that the Vikings “were a little frustrated Hodges didn’t show more fire last year, especially when Desmond Bishop’s torn ACL put him second on the depth chart at weakside linebacker.”

While Hodges saw no defensive snaps in 2013, he ended up being a member of the Vikings special teams units. Hodges ended his rookie season with five tackles, all on special teams.

Expectations for 2014

It’s hard to know what exactly to expect from Hodges in 2014, as there is  very little game tape out there with him in a Vikings uniform. He is currently slated to start for the team at weakside linebacker, but the draft could change that. Mike Zimmer may also shift some linebackers around to different spots on his defense.

If Hodges does some extra work in the weight room to gain some strength and sticks his nose into his playbook, there’s no question that he has the athletic ability to contribute on defense. It’ll be up to him to see how big that contribution might be.

At the very least, Hodges will continue to provide the Vikings with young, inexpensive depth and a key special teams member.

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Tags: Desmond Bishop Gerald Hodges Marvin Mitchell Mike Zimmer Minnesota Vikings

  • 3kolu

    He best be hitting the weight room and he better bury his face into the Viking defensive playbook or he’ll be NFL. However, I believe he is a high character personality just like Michael Mauti. I’m excited to see what we do in the upcoming draft.

  • Gordon Guffey

    I believe it had more to do with Frazier ~ Cole never saw the field until a injury hit Erin and look how well he played ~ I believe Frazier stuck with the vets in hopes of saving his job ~ I believe (((it was reported in the local press))) the only reason he started Freeman in the Giants game was he didn’t want Freeman and he was mad because Rick signed him anyway ~ Frazier did the same thing with Patterson and Sharrif Floyd ~ How Rhodes made it on the field was because of injury and poor play from Cook ~ Frazier had no chose ~ And knowing Rhodes was a press corner did he adjust his defense to make use of that ~ No and Rhodes started out slow because of it ~ Thats the thing I believe I will enjoy most about Zimmer ~ Not only on defense but offense as well ~ He will start his 22 best players and make any adjustments needed to fit his players best ~ Norv has also been known to be the same kind of HC and followed the same rules as a OC ~ Frazier and his staff couldn’t even make in game adjustments let alone adjustments to help players be more productive ~

  • Daniel Laxen

    What many people see in Audie Cole is puzzling. Sure he made tackles. That’s what MBLs do. He’s awful in coverage and was out of position way too much in passing situations. Then he’s injured and out for the year after 2 games…There’s a reason he was released last year and nobody snapped him up. Everyone still loves the fact that he made 2 plays in a pre season game a couple years ago that allowed him to simply make the team…Erin Henderson was better than him and that’s not saying much. You may be upset if he doesn’t even make the roster this year. I, for one won’t be shocked…The reason this team is so bad is a result of Spielman. Had AP not gained 2000 yards a couple years ago he and Frazier would no longer be with the organization. I still believe they fired the wrong guy, and Frazier was left to twist in the wind because of Rick’s control of the team…