Breaking News:Vikings Schedule Pre-Draft Visit with Impressive UCLA Pass Rusher Laiatu Latu..

The Vikings are hosting UCLA edge rusher Laiatu Latu on a pre-draft Top 30 visit on Tuesday, according to NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport. The projected first-round pick is one of the top pass rushers in this draft class, although his evaluation does come with some medical questions that the Vikings and other teams will want their doctors to look at.

Latu began his college career at Washington, but prior to his sophomore season, he suffered a neck injury and was told he wouldn’t be able to continue playing football. He sat out in 2020 and 2021 before transferring to UCLA, getting cleared by their team doctors, and becoming a star. Latu absolutely dominated the Pac-12 over the past two years. The 23-year-old is coming off a season where he had 13 sacks, 21.5 total TFL, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and a ridiculous 96.3 PFF grade (which led all edge rushers in the nation). In 2022, he had 10.5 sacks and three forced fumbles. Latu has good size, elite athleticism, and plenty of technical ability as a pass rusher. If the medicals check out, he deserves to be in the conversation with players like Dallas Turner and Jared Verse as the top edge rusher in this class.
It does seem likely that Latu’s injury history will cause him to fall further down the board than Turner and Verse. This Vikings regime has been comfortable taking chances on players with injury histories in the past, but the failures of Andrew Booth Jr. and Marcus Davenport are cautionary tales.
The Vikings are doing their homework on several of the top defensive players in this draft. On Monday, they hosted Turner, DT Byron Murphy II, and CB Quinyon Mitchell for visits. In the event that they don’t package picks 11 and 23 in a move up for a quarterback, they want to be fully informed on all of the defensive players who could be options at those spots. Latu, unlike the three who were at TCO Performance Center on Monday, is someone who might be available at 23 if the Vikings get J.J. McCarthy or Michael Penix Jr. at 11.

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