Dec 28, 2012; Orlando, FL, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies cornerback Antone Exum (1) returns an interception thrown by Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Gary Nova (not pictured) during the fourth quarter of the 2012 Russell Athletic Bowl at the Citrus Bowl. Virginia Tech defeated Rutgers 13-10 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Douglas Jones-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings 2014 Rookie Preview: Antone Exum

Our 2014 Vikings Rookie Preview series continues today with the first defensive back the Vikings took in the draft, all the way in the sixth round. Better late than never, however, as the team got a possible contributor right away if he stays healthy.


Antone Exum, S – Virginia Tech

Taken in 6th Round, 182nd overall by Vikings

Age: 23; Height: 5-11; Weight: 213

40 Yard Dash: 4.53; Bench: 17; Vertical Jump: 35; Short Shuttle: 4.13; 3-Cone Drill: 7.05


2010 Stats (14 games, 5 starts): 45 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 0 interceptions, 9 passes defensed

2011 Stats (14 games, 14 starts): 89 tackles, 5 sacks, 1 interception, 11 passes defensed

2012 Stats (13 games, 13 starts): 48 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 5 interceptions, 21 passes defensed

2013 Stats (3 games, 3 starts): 4 tackles, 0 sacks, 0 interceptions, 1 pass defensed


Scouting Report:

*Scouting information primarily from Dane Brugler of CBS Sports

Exum is a little bit of a tweener, as he has imposing size for a cornerback but isn’t huge for a safety, where he will start his career with the Vikings. There is a chance he could play a hybrid role on defense though, like the team used Robert Blanton a little bit last year (due to injuries).

Exum has great movement skills, able to change direction quickly to make plays on the football. In addition he also has great awareness on the field, which allows him to find the football frequently.

Exum is very physical out on the football field, with an attacking mentality in press coverage and while tackling. He isn’t afraid to lay big hits on opposing receivers, and is very aggressive out on the field.

Exum’s aggressive mentality is both a blessing and a curse, as it can cause him to get beat on some plays and will draw some flags at the next level. It is likely at least partially to blame for his injury history while in college.

Exum tore his ACL during the 2013 offseason, and he will need to show that he is healthy to be a contributor.

Exum doesn’t have elite speed, and can sometimes get beat when he has a false step in coverage. He will have to clean up his technique a little bit to contribute at the next level, but if he can get healthy he could very well be a starter down the line.


Spot on the Depth Chart:

The Vikings have said they want to put Exum at safety, where he will likely be placed on the strong side behind Jamarcus Sanford and Mistral Raymond.

In order to make the Vikings opening day roster, Exum will have to beat out some of the other safeties on the depth chart as well such as Brandon Bishop and Robert Blanton.

Exum’s hard-hitting and tackling ability will also give him a chance to stick out on special teams, which will be the fastest way for him to make an impact on the field.


Odds of Making Roster: Possible

The Vikings kept five safeties on their opening day roster last year, as did Mike Zimmer and the Cincinnati Bengals. With Harrison Smith and Jamarca Sanford almost locks to make the roster, Exum will have to stand out among the depth at the position.

That means Exum will have to beat out the fourth and fifth safeties from the depth chart last year, Robert Blanton and Mistral Raymond, if he wants to crack the final 53.

Exum even has a slight edge in the competition since he was drafted under the new coaching staff, rather than being a Fraizer holdover. If he can make a couple of impact tackles in training camp and preseason, and most importantly, stay healthy, Exum has a great shot of landing on Mike Zimmer’s first Vikings roster.


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  • Sutano

    Hope this guy is fully recovered from his ACL tear and regains his 2012 form. Not sure where all the love of him being a “hard hitter” and a physical cornerback is coming from though because he is not a Ronnie Lott and there are multiple scouting reports that point out that tackling is a weakness and he tends to avoid contact, and sure enough watching some film, I can see that, but there’s no denying he has good instincts.

  • David Mallow

    he will without a doubt make the final roster.. he is a great athlete and is an upgrade over every safety we have outside of Harrison.. and it’s Jamarca,not Jamarcus

  • Robert L

    I’ll actually be kinda pissed if he doesn’t make the roster… especially over guys like Blanton and Raymond who haven’t done much of anything in their careers to warrant a roster spot over a guy who no doubt would’ve gone much earlier in the draft if it wasn’t for that ACL injury. We need someone back there in the secondary with Harrison who can put some fear into WRs going across the middle with their big hits and Exum hits like a tank. That highlight video showed exactly what he’s able to do… create turnovers. Whether it’s by INT or jarring the ball loose with his hits. The best part about it is a lot of his big hits don’t seem to be reckless either where he’s hitting people up near the head like a lot of hard hitting safeties seem to do which tells me he’s a very smart football player. I’m just excited to see what he can bring to this team. Can the season just start now, please?

    • HeWhoKnowsAll

      He’s a lock on this roster and Raymond is as good as gone.