High School Sports

Gulfport native chasing NFL dream with Minnesota Vikings

Gulfport native and former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. is hoping to catch on with the Minnesota Vikings. He’ll likely have to switch to defense, he has told reporters, if he wants to stick on the NFL roster.
Gulfport native and former Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. is hoping to catch on with the Minnesota Vikings. He’ll likely have to switch to defense, he has told reporters, if he wants to stick on the NFL roster. AP File

Gulfport native Tommy Armstrong Jr. is hopeful to land a roster spot with the Minnesota Vikings — although nothing is guaranteed just yet.

The former Nebraska quarterback was passed over in last month’s NFL Draft and didn’t land a spot anywhere as an undrafted free agent, but the Vikings gave Armstrong reason to be optimistic when they extended a tryout to the team’s rookie minicamp over the weekend.

The audition must have gone well. The Cornhusker record-setter told TwinCities.com he was invited back for the team’s Organized Team Activities later this month — as a safety.

“I met with (defensive backs coach Jerry) Gray after practice Sunday, and he said, ‘We’re going to fly you back up here (next) Sunday and we’ll give you a playbook,’” Armstrong told the paper. “He said he’d call me in a few days. They also like the way I’ve been playing special teams.’’

Armstrong spent the first two days of the camp working out with the running backs before shuffling to the defensive side of the ball.

“I was kind of rusty at first,’’ Armstrong said of Sunday’s practice. “But I think that I can bring something to the team on the defensive side of the ball and to special teams. I’m looking forward to next week. I’ll do whatever it takes to play in the NFL.’’

Armstrong grew up in Gulfport but moved to Cibolo, Texas, after Hurricane Katrina. There, Armstrong attended Steele High School and had his pick of college suitors, ultimately choosing the Cornhuskers.

A dual-threat quarterback, Armstrong set a school record by starting 44 games in his career. By the time his collegiate career was over, Armstrong also set school records for total offense (10,690 yards), total touchdowns (91), passing yards (8,871) and passing touchdowns (67).

The Vikings’ roster is currently at capacity with 90 players, meaning in order for Armstrong to earn more than just a tryout at the Vikings’ OTAs, another roster move will be needed.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

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