A Chapter Closes on the Vikings Feel-Good Story

Sep 7, 2019; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers linebacker Phil Campbell III (24) and linebacker Elias Reynolds (44) and defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

When Jaylen Twyman was selected by the Vikings in the sixth-round of the 2021 NFL Draft, I called him the steal of the draft. That bold prediction was put on hold when Twyman was shot while visiting family in Washington D.C. His injuries kept the Pitt product out of training camp as well as the entirety of his rookie season. Heading into 2022, Twyman was seen as the Vikings feel-good story of training camp as he got the invitation to attend.

As the Vikings roster continues to be trimmed down to 53 players, the feel-good story is once again put on hold. Twyman was waived on Tuesday morning.

Twyman was given the nickname of “Baby AD” during his time at the University of Pittsburgh, largely because his style of play resembled that of three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald. Donald attended Pitt from 2010-13 and recorded 66 TFLs over his career, the fourth-most in NCAA history. After joining the Rams, Donald had multiple discussions with Twyman and trained with him when he joined the program.

As a result, Twyman took a major leap during his sophomore year of 2019. In 13 games, the defensive tackle recorded 12.5 TFLs and 10.5 sacks. This was just a tick off of Donald’s collegiate career high in sacks. He recorded 11 sacks in both his sophomore and senior seasons.

Twyman ultimately opted out of the 2020 COVID season in order to be with family during the pandemic, meaning that his preseason action in 2022 was his first since December 26th, 2019, when Pitt took on Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl.

If the second-year defensive tackle clears waivers, he is expected to land back on the Vikings practice squad. We shall see if a team is willing to take a chance on the 23-year-old DT to prevent his story from continuing in Minnesota. It’s undeniable that Twyman has talent, so it will be an interesting tidbit to keep an eye on.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing as well as minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh can often be found training for a marathon, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his takes, NFL and otherwise, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken

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