Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


Vikings draft Penn State linebacker in fourth round

Posted by: Kent Youngblood under Vikings, NFL draft Updated: April 27, 2013 - 1:20 PM

 The Vikings used their pick in the fourth round Saturday – the 120th overall choice – on Penn State outside linebacker Gerald Hodges.

Hodges is a converted high school quarterback and wrestler who started his college career at safety before moving to linebacker during his true freshman season due to injuries on the Penn State defense.

The 6-2, 237-pound Hodges was a two-time all-Big Ten Conference selection. He was named to the second team in 2011 and the first team in 2012.  He led Penn State in tackles both in 2011 (106) and 2012 (109), with 18.5 tackles for loss in that time.

He is good at dropping in pass coverage – he had seven pass breakups and was tied for second o his team with two interceptions in 2012 -- and can play the run physically.

Hodges was a leader on a Penn State defense that finished second in the Big Ten and 16th nationally in scoring defense (19.1 points per game). 

Hodges played weakside linebacker in 2011 and was on the strong side in 2012. In a conference call with reporters this afternoon, Hodges said he'd never played inside linebacker until he played ILB as part of a 3-4 defense in the East-West Shrine game. 

That said, he said he's willing and able to play inside should the Vikings want to try him there: "I feel very comfortable with my potential, with my ability to move quickly and hit gaps," he said.

Here are some other tidbits from his conference call:

--He admitted he had hoped to go earlier in the draft, and was feeling rather stressed by the process. So he decided to take a shower in an attempt to relax. "As I came out of the shower my phone was ringing," he said. "It was Minnesota on the phone, and I saw they were on the board with the next pick. It was an amazing feeling."

--On being recruited by and playing for Joe Paterno: "It's like being coached by a legend while he's still coaching," Hodges said. "He taught you a lot about playing football, but at the same time he taught you a lot about being a man and showing respect."

--Hodges was among a handful of Penn State seniors who worked to keep the team together as the Jerry Sandusky story unfolded. He called it a maturing process.

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Atlanta - WP: E. Stults 4 FINAL
Detroit - LP: J. Chamberlain 2
Washington - LP: X. Cedeno 2 FINAL
St. Louis - WP: M. Wacha 6
Philadelphia 4 FINAL
Pittsburgh 18
Baltimore 6 FINAL
Tampa Bay 6
Miami - LP: D. Haren 1 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: R. Montero 7
San Diego 6 FINAL
Cincinnati 3
San Francisco 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 8
Colorado 2 FINAL
Oakland 11
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Seattle - WP: T. Walker 5
Cleveland 4 FINAL
Chicago WSox 1
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Texas 7
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Arizona 2
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Minnesota - LP: C. Johnson 2 FINAL
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Montreal 3
Vancouver 4 FINAL
St. Louis 1
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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

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