Former Garfield Heights star signs with the Vikings

A.J. Rose ready to join talented backfield in Minnesota
Updated: May. 4, 2021 at 12:38 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - When I say A.J. Rose is a Boy Scout, I mean, he’s an Eagle Scout. And when he’s not leading others off the field, he’s leading them on it, as a running back, first at Garfield Heights, then at the University of Kentucky.

Where the NFL dream started to become real.

“Yeah, I thought it was a possibility, but it didn’t really hit me and seem real until I actually got to college,” Rose told me during a zoom interview. “Just hearing coaches say that if I put the work in and I keep my mind to it, I could fulfill that dream.”

A.J. Rose at Kentucky
A.J. Rose at Kentucky(A.J. Rose)

But he had to keep the faith, because the Draft came and the Draft went, without a phone call.

“I was projected anywhere from (rounds) 4-7, 5-7,” Rose says. “And you know, the Draft was a pretty interesting Draft this year. A lot of players that were supposed to get drafted didn’t get drafted, a lot of players that thought they wouldn’t get drafted got drafted.”

Rose didn’t get drafted. But, that didn’t mean the phone wasn’t going to ring. After the draft, the Vikings came a’calling. Rose will join a backfield led by Dalvin Cook, 2020′s second-leading rusher, and rookie Kene Nwangwu, who the Vikings took in Round 4.

“My mindset is to go in there and compete,” Rose says. “Get to know everybody, all of the coaches, get comfortable with the playbook, get that down pat, and from there just work hard, and getting a carry, just try to find a role, whether it’s gonna be special teams or whatever. I’m just trying to help the team win in whatever way I can.

“It was kind of nerve wracking,” Rose says. “I was anxious, I was nervous, but I feel like I fell in the right spot.”

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