Another LB Prospect Meets with Vikings ahead of the 2024 NFL Draft

The 2024 NFL Draft is just over a day away.

Before it gets started, though, the Minnesota Vikings are getting some last-minute evaluations in on a few additional draft prospects. On Tuesday, it was reported that they met with linebacker/safety Jamal Hill. On Wednesday, another LB prospect met with the Vikings in a virtual fashion. That prospect is FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel.

Another LB Prospect Meets with the Vikings

Middle Tennessee quarterback DJ Riles (5) run the option as FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel (10) makes a tackle during the MTSU’s salute to Veterans football game in the Johnny “Red” Floyd Stadium in Murfreesboro, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov 11, 2023. Helen Comer/The Daily Journal

Aaron Wilson of KPRC2 reported the meeting via tweet, “Florida International @FIU linebacker Donovan Manuel met virtually with #Vikings linebackers coach, per a league source.”

Manuel began his collegiate career at East Tennessee State where he played for three seasons at the FCS level. The linebacker spent the majority of the 2019 and 2020 seasons in a reserve role before taking on a starting spot in 2021.

During that 2021 season, Manuel put together 93 tackles, four sacks, and was one of the better coverage linebackers at the FCS level, garnering a coverage grade of 72.0 from PFF.

Nov 18, 2023; Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas Razorbacks quarterback KJ Jefferson (1) rushes in the third quarter as FIU Panthers linebacker Donovan Manuel (10) attempts a tackle at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium. Arkansas won 44-20. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

After his success at East Tennessee State, Manuel opted to transfer to Florida International University where he would finish his collegiate career. Playing in Conference USA, the linebacker saw his production blossom even further over his final two seasons.

In total, Manuel recorded 218 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, six passes defended, and five forced fumbles. All of those forced fumbles came during the 2023 season, which led the entire FBS.

Needless to say, Manuel is a hard-hitter at the linebacker spot. He has a very sturdy frame at 6’1″ and 230 pounds, and he is an explosive player who can help solidify an NFL team’s run defense.

LB Prospect
Nov 23, 2019; Nashville, TN, USA; Vanderbilt Commodores running back Ke’Shawn Vaughn (5) runs for a short gain between tackle attempts from East Tennessee State Buccaneers linebacker Donovan Manuel (30) and East Tennessee State Buccaneers defensive back Quinn Smith during the second half at Vanderbilt Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The Vikings saw both Troy Dye and Jordan Hicks leave in free agency, and while Blake Cashman looks to be a solid addition to the starting lineup, Minnesota could use some additional depth at the linebacker position.

Manuel might be an option for Minnesota to do just that during the third day of the draft.


Editor’s Note: Statistics for this article were found via Pro Football Focus and Sports Reference CFB.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho and managing editor of PurplePTSD.com. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys running, gaming, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. Check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.

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