Stephen Weatherly, a seventh-round Vikings draft pick out of Vanderbilt, can play nine musical instruments and has dabbled in competitive chess and robotics. The rookie, who is being tried at defensive end, took time to chat with the Star Tribune’s Jason Gonzalez:
Q You’re clearly a man of many talents. Is there anything else you do to make yourself standout?
A I try to make people laugh on our team, which is kind of hard because as a rookie you sit back and observe and try to figure out what’s the mood in the locker room. But with the rookies I’m known as the funny guy.
Q What do you think of this guy [referencing Teddy Bridgewater, who stuck his head in on the interview]?
A Amazing leader. Even though we play different positions, he’s reached out and really helped me mature and acclimate to the team.
Q [to Bridgewater] How has Stephen made himself noteworthy these first few weeks of OTAs?
A He walks around and keeps his mouth shut [said half-jokingly].
Q [again to Bridgewater] Is that what you did as a rookie?
A Yeah. [Weatherly] just comes in to work and works hard. That’s what guys like to see. [exit Bridgewater]
Q Your grandma earned degrees from Harvard and MIT. How much was education emphasized in your home growing up?
A It was one of those things we just found out one day while talking to her. She doesn’t talk about it much, but certain things were stressed around the household, and you just knew that education was No. 1.
Q We know you play the piano, trumpet, trombone, baritone, tuba, flute, clarinet, saxophone and drums. What are you best at?
A I haven’t played in a while. The most recent one I played was the piano. … In elementary school, music was a big thing, so I just started in a band. … I’ve never played all of them at the same time, and I couldn’t go back and forth between them.
Q How are your chess skills and do you still have an interest in robotics?
A I haven’t played in a really long time, but I could still hold my own; kind of like riding a bike. As far as robotics, I get a magazine subscription [to Wired], so read up on it when have time.
Q You played three positions in college — defensive end, outside linebacker and inside linebacker. How did you handle the transition process?
A It was actually hard for me to go from D-end to outside linebacker. Going back to D-end, because I actually played in high school for four years, it’s basically knocking of the rust and getting back to basics.
Q Your draft profile lists your arm length at 34 ½ inches and your hands 10 ¼ inches, which are nearly identical to what defensive end Danielle Hunter, who had a successful rookie year, was listed at a year ago. Physically, are you confident you can perform at this level?
A My thing is just trusting my abilities. … [Defensive line coach Andre Patterson] takes great athletes on paper and helps them trust in their abilities, then they go out execute and you see those amazing seasons.