Friday, April 29, 2016

Work Ethic Drives Vikings Second Round Pick Mackensie Alexander

Photo Courtesy of Gannett

The Vikings spent their second round pick by selecting Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander. A strong work ethic and high amount of confidence has Mackensie Alexander ready to make an impact in Minnesota. 

Updated: April 29th, 2016 9:45pm

By: Daniel House

The Vikings spent their second round pick by selecting Clemson cornerback Mackensie Alexander.

He finished the 2015 season with 30 tackles, but has zero career interceptions in two seasons at Clemson. However, according to draft stats by Nolan Nawrocki, he allowed zero touchdowns in 23 games, 33 completions on 106 targets, and a 31.1% completion rate. Teams really didn't throw the ball his way very often because he is was one of the best defensive backs on the field for Clemson.

Early in the draft process, Alexander didn't have much contact with the Minnesota Vikings organization, but he is very thankful for the opportunity to join the Vikings.

"They're bringing me up here to play and do a job," explained Alexander.

Mike Zimmer has a pedigree developing defensive backs at the NFL level. Alexander can't wait to work with him to improve certain aspects of his game.

Alexander said, "I'm just eager to learn and be around him." He later added, "Coach Zimmer really believes in me."

He also likes the idea of lining up against recently drafted wide receiver Laquon Treadwell in practice. In fact, he already has developed a relationship with Treadwell through the years.

"That is going to be fun. I'm going to call him after this," said Alexander.

Alexander said he played both inside and outside at Clemson. He is projected to be a nickel cornerback for the Vikings, but does have some flexibility to play in multiple ways within the secondary. He didn't have any interceptions in two seasons at Clemson, but he shut down some of the top wide receivers every week. 

"I was asked to follow the best receivers every week and eliminate them from their gameplan and just win those matchups. Whatever the Vikings want me to do, I'm ready for it."

One of the evident attributes Mackensie Alexander has on the field is his confidence. He says he learned this through working hard in every aspect of his life. 

"You only gain confidence if you work at it, and you know you put in the work, and you go out there and compete," explained Alexander. 

He says having confidence on the field is driven by having a strong work ethic. He learned this early in his life. He grew up in a Haitian-Mexican family that frequently picked tomatoes and oranges in the humid sun. 

"Just having a sick work ethic -- that's what I have. My parents instilled that in me," reiterated Alexander. "I grew up around people who just worked, worked, worked."

In Minnesota, Alexander will have the opportunity to play alongside 14-year NFL veteran Terence Newman. He is really looking forward to learning from someone who has so much experience at the professional level. As much as he wants to play immediately, he understands the team nature of the sport and will accept any role within the organization. Even if that means playing behind Newman this year. 

"This is a team sport and I know Newman has been in the game a long time and I'm eager to learn from him," explained Alexander. 

Alexander is willing to put a high volume of work into carving his role with the Vikings. That starts with paying attention and learning whenever he is given the opportunity. 

"I'm going to be as tuned in as possible and sit by the coaching staff, sit behind Newman, sit behind guys who have played and know what to do and expect and just try to make it the best rookie year I can have," stated Alexander. 

Alexander is a very motivated player who is willing to display his strong work ethic in a variety of ways. Not to mention, he adds more depth and value to the Vikings secondary this season. 

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