Former UK running back signs free-agent contract with the Vikings

A.J. Rose is the first former Wildcat from the 2020 class to sign a free-agent contract

MINNEAPOLIS, MN (WTVQ/UK ATHLETICS) – Recent Kentucky football graduate, A.J. Rose, has signed a free-agent contract with the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings. He is the first Wildcat from the 2020 class to sign a free agent contract.

Rose, a native of Cleveland, played in 44 career games with 24 consecutive starting assignments in his Wildcat career.

He was the team’s second-leading rusher in 2020 with 666 yards and two scores, averaging 6.3 yards per attempt. He became the 37th player in school history to reach 1,000 career rushing yards and his total of 1,971 moved him to 10th on UK’s all-time list. Rose also ranks third on UK’s career yards per attempt list at 5.80 rushing yards per carry, behind only Lynn Bowden Jr. and Stanley “Boom” Williams.

In UK’s bowl win over North Carolina State, Rose rushed 12 times for a career-high 148 yards, the sixth-highest in the 26 bowl/playoff games played in 2020. It marked his third 100-yard game of the season and he was named the 2021 Gator Bowl Most Valuable Player.

Rose, who was named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll, graduated in December of 2020 with a degree in community and leadership development.

Rose also has the distinction of being an Eagle Scout. He earned the Scouts’ high achievement in 2014 after collecting and donating hundreds of toiletries to his local Ronald McDonald House for his Eagle project.

Kentucky/NFL Draft Notes:

  • Kentucky’s six NFL Draft picks are the tied for the fourth-most in school history and the most since 1979 (eight). Five of the six picks were defensive players.
  • The six picks are the most for Kentucky since the current seven-round draft era began in 1994.
  • This marks the second time in the last three years that Kentucky has had five or more draft picks (five in 2019).
  • For the second time in the last three years, Kentucky had a first- and second-round pick in Jamin Davis, first round and Kelvin Joseph, second round. Prior to that, you have to go back 42 years to find two UK picks in the first two rounds (Warren Bryant and Randy Burke, first round 1977).
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