It’s been a long road for former Pitt star Jaylen Twyman since he was struck by four bullets in Washington D.C. last June, the unintended victim of a shooting while visiting family in D.C., but he’s making a comeback to the football field.
Twyman, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound defensive tackle who was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, is fully healthy to begin the Vikings’ offseason drills Monday, Pioneer Press’ Chris Tomasson reported.
It will be Twyman’s first chance to get back on the field since 2019 at Pitt. He sat out to 2020 season due to COVID-19 and missed all of last season as he recovered from his injuries. He was waived with an injury designation by the Vikings after the shooting, but reverted to the team’s non-football injury list, where he spent his entire first NFL season.
Twyman redshirted as a freshman in 2017, after arriving as a three-star defensive tackle, and played a reserve role in 2018 before breaking out in 2019. Twyman earned second-team All-American and first-team All-ACC honors after a season in which he recorded 41 tackles (23 solo), 12 tackles for loss, 11 sacks and defended two passes. With a team-high 11 sacks, he was the first Pitt defensive tackle to lead Pitt in sacks since Aaron Donald.
With James Lynch, T.Y. McGill, Harrison Phillips, Jordon Scott, T.J. Smith, Julian Taylor, Dalvin Tomlinson and Armon Watts on the Vikings’ roster as defensive tackles, Twyman has his work cut out for him to make the roster, but he’s 100 percent entering the summer.
Tomasson reported that new head coach Alex O’Connell elected to begin offseason drills on Monday, ahead of the previous April 18 start date. The Vikings will also hold voluntary organized team activities in the middle of May through the beginning of June, and the mandatory minicamp is April 7-9.
Fellow former Panthers Patrick Jones II and Brian O’Neill are also on the Vikings’ roster.