Troy Dye

Troy Dye went out as a Rose Bowl Champion and it 'meant the world'

Troy Dye went out as a Rose Bowl Champion and it 'meant the world'

Once a Duck, always a Duck.

It's a saying that originates in Eugene but has been echoed all through the country and even the world. As those leave the University of Oregon, one thing's for sure: All Ducks share a special bond. 

Now that sentiment will extend to Minnesota where former Oregon linebacker Troy Dye will be playing professional football for the Minnesota Vikings who selected him in the fourth round, 132nd overall, during the 2020 NFL Draft.

In an interview on the Minnesota Vikings podcast, Dye discussed what his time in Eugene meant to him. 

I think Eugene is probably my second home because I just fell in love with the community. I feel like I have a spot there for the rest of my life, no matter what. - Troy Dye

After winning the Redbox Bowl as a junior, Dye along with quarterback Justin Herbert, forwent the NFL Draft to play one final season in Eugene with one goal in mind: To go out on top.

We've been through so much: Three difference coaching changes, three different offenses, three different defenses, different scandals, different things going on with strength coaches and administration people, just different things that can distract people. People transfering, people getting kicked off. There's many things that can get you discouraged and you can go 4-8, then [7-6], then 8-4, and then the last year could be 8-4 and you'd be okay with that but we had a different mindset, different goal. We made sure everybody was on the same page going into this last year and made it happen. - Troy Dye

The city had given Dye so much that he knew he needed to finish the rebuild his senior class began. 

I've built so many relationships and friendships over those four years it's just meant the world to me. So to be able to go out with that senior class that we came in with and go out with the Rose Bowl it just meant the world.

Dye's senior class accomplished just that winning the program's first Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl Championship since 2014, and finishing with the program's highest final ranking of No. 5 since Marcus Mariota left for the NFL. They also left the program ready to continue building forward with back-to-back top recruiting classes in the conference which leads to more talent being injected into the program.

Dye, Herbert, and the rest of the 2020 class will be remembered for turning around the program back to national relevance; where it belongs. 

Be sure to check out the full Talkin’ Ducks Podcast with host Jordan Kent and special guest GoDucks.com editor-in-chief Rob Moseley. 

Troy Dye will do whatever it takes to help the Minnesota Vikings win

Troy Dye will do whatever it takes to help the Minnesota Vikings win

Saturday was a day for celebration for Oregon linebacker Troy Dye.

When the Minnesota Vikings selected Dye with the 132nd pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, it was the culmination of a lifelong football journey for Dye and his family, as he described in an interview with Gabe Henderson of Vikings Entertainment Network.

Just a whirlwind of emotions. I think, just eveything you've built up to... in your life just to get to this point and to have it actually come to fruition, it's awesome. And to be a Minnesota Viking just means a little bit more because it's a great organization and a great team... To actually get my name called and actually see it on the scroll and get the phone call and have that emotional time being with everybody around you and to cherish that moment, it just meant the world to me and my family to check it off the list (a player getting drafted) so to speak. 

[RELATED]: WATCH Troy Dye get phone call from Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

Dye couldn't have found a better landing spot than Minnesota where he can learn under linebackers Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks, in addition to head coach Mike Zimmer, who coached Dye's older brother Tony Dye in Cincinnati. 

It's a pleasure to be a part of the organization. I just wanted to [give] a shoutout to the Wilf family for giving me this opportunity. [General manager] Rick Spielman, Coach [Mike] Zimmer, they all gave me the opportunity to be a part of such a great organization. I'm looking forward to it.

The four-time leading tackler for the Oregon Ducks thinks he can help the Vikings win and is willing to do whatever it takes, including special teams. He said it best himself, he's "a big team guy." 

Any impact I can make whether it's on special teams, whether it's coming in on third down, whether it's different packages. Just any way I can get out there and help the team propel to the next level I'm willing to do because I'm a big team guy. And I love just winning games. So, anything I can do to help win games, I'm going to go out there and give it my all.

Just how big of a team guy is Dye?

Despite knowing he was NFL bound in a few months, Dye finished out his senior season playing through a broken thumb and a torn meniscus. Many players would have shut it down to be healthy in time for the draft process. Dye elected to play through the pain resulting in a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. The Duck finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. 

You can watch the full interview here. 

WATCH Troy Dye get phone call from Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

WATCH Troy Dye get phone call from Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

Many were shocked to see that Oregon linebacker Troy Dye fell to the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft, including himself.

At least one team rectified their mistake. The Minnesota Vikings selected Dye with the 132nd overall pick and social media celebrated accordingly. 

No one was happier than the man himself though, and now we can hear his conversation with the franchise.

The Vikings tweeted out phone calls that head coach Mike Zimmer and general manager Rick Spielman had with all three of their fourth-round selections, including Dye.

"Hey Troy, it's Rick Spielman, the general manager. You ready to be a Minnesota Viking?"

Yes sir. I can't wait. - Troy Dye on getting started in Minnesota

Dye also spoke to his new head coach who has some familiarity with the Dye family.

"Congratulations," said Zimmer. "Tell your brother I said 'hello' I coached him in Cincinnati." 

"I definitely will. He always talks about you." 

After Zimmer joked he hopes it's good Dye responded: "It's all positive things."

Tony Dye played for Cincinnati from 2012-13 as an undrafted free agent out of UCLA while Zimmer was the defensive coordinator there. He actually scored a touchdown off a blocked punt in a 41-20 victory over Cleveland but would be deactivated shortly after. After the 2014 season, Tony Dye retired and now coaches football.

Troy Dye and Mike Zimmer seem like a match made in heaven. 

[RELATED]: Troy Dye has the toughness Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings love

Troy Dye receives congratulatory caravan led by Mario Cristobal

Troy Dye receives congratulatory caravan led by Mario Cristobal

The NFL Draft has concluded, and a few teams around the league were fortunate enough to add some Oregon Ducks to the roster. 

But, no two Ducks in the draft pool were more coveted than quarterback Justin Herbert and linebacker Troy Dye. 

Herbert went off the board on day one, going No. 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers.

After the selection, the Oregon football staff rolled up to Herbert's house to offer their congratulations.

As for Dye, he was the 26th pick in the fourth round and is heading to Minnesota. 

And despite not being a top-10 pick, that didn't discourage the Cristobal and crew from offering the same treatment. 

Kudos to the Ducks for showing they aren't just a football team, but they're a family. Not only did the coaches show their love, but they also made sure to maintain social distancing standards. As you can see in the videos, the Herbert and Dye were elated... so were fans on social media. 

College roommates Troy Dye and Dillon Mitchell reunited in Minnesota

College roommates Troy Dye and Dillon Mitchell reunited in Minnesota

After the San Fransisco 49ers traded away DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts, there's a new favorite pair of former Oregon teammates in the NFL.

When the Minnesota Vikings selected Troy Dye with the 132nd overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the franchise reunited the linebacker with his college roommate Dillon Mitchell.

The two played with one another from 2016 until 2018 when Mitchell forwent his senior season to declare for the NFL Draft. The Vikings then selected him in the seventh round with the 239th overall pick, signed him to the practice squad for the 2019 season and signed him, along with former Ducks running back Tony Brooks James, to a future contract for the 2020 season.

Dye returned to school for his senior season, ultimately playing through a broken thumb and a torn meniscus on his way to a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. The Duck finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. 

When the selection happened, Mitchell was excited to see Dye again.

Later in a zoom press conference, Troy Dye said he's excited to be reunited with Mitchell: "To make it happen is pretty awesome to be back with my original roommate."

He also wanted to know if his former roommate wanted to live together again, and he got his answer.

The two have shared a special bond over the years between competing on the field together, living together and hating the Washington Huskies together.

Dye even said that he made the famous "Dubs Down" motion after defeating Washington to pick up where Mitchell left off.

Troy Dye finally got selected and Duck nation rejoiced

Troy Dye finally got selected and Duck nation rejoiced

Despite being a projected third-round pick in many mock drafts, Troy Dye did not hear his name called during Day 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.

He was not pleased.

Dye didn't need to wait long to hear his name called as the Minnesota Vikings saw what all of Oregon saw, and selected him 132nd overall.

Dye finished third in Oregon program history in career tackles (397) and tied for fourth in tackles for loss (44.0). The four-year starter at Oregon should thrive in Mike Zimmer's defense that utilizes double A-gap blitzes and more importantly, prioritizes being tougher than the opponent. 

Despite knowing he was NFL bound in a few months, Dye finished out his senior season playing through a broken thumb and a torn meniscus resulting in a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. The Duck finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. 

No wonder the Vikings drafted him.

When the pick was in, social media lost their minds, including many of his former teammates loving it.

Troy Dye has the toughness Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings love

Troy Dye has the toughness Mike Zimmer and the Minnesota Vikings love

I want Vikings football to be a tough, smart and aggressive team that plays with passion and that works relentlessly for one common goal. - Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer 

Duck fans know just the guy, and so did the Vikings front office. 

It took longer than expected, but Troy Dye finally went off the board when the Minnesota Vikings took him in the fourth round with the 132nd overall selection.

He should thrive in Minnesota.

Head coach Mike Zimmer has found success in the past with Pac-12 linebackers as UCLA alumni Anthony Barr and Erick Kendricks have both started for years, but that means they're also aging. The franchise could see Dye as an investment for when one of those players begin their decline, which may be happening for Barr. 

Zimmer notoriously hates playing rookies so don't expect him to see the field a ton his rookie season unless he falls in love with the player, which rarely happens. Stefon Diggs, Anthony Barr, and Mike Hughes were the exception to the rule but all three immediately made an impact on the field. The defensive-minded coach would rather roll with veterans who at least have a season behind their belt before being thrown to the fire. 

But how could Zimmer not love Troy Dye? 

Zimmer, an old-school, hard-nosed football coach and arguably one of the toughest players in Oregon history seems like a perfect match. 

Despite knowing he was NFL bound in a few months, Dye finished out his senior season playing through a broken thumb and a torn meniscus resulting in a Pac-12 Championship and Rose Bowl victory. The Duck finished his 2019 campaign with 84 tackles, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two forced fumbles. 

No wonder the Vikings front office saw him as a fit in a team culture that emphasizes toughness. 

The linebackers ahead of Dye on the depth chart, mainly Barr and Kendricks (who was graded the best middle linebacker in the NFL by PFF in 2019) should be able to take Dye under their wing. There's hardly a better group of linebackers to pick their brains than these two. 

Dye said he's especially excited to learn from Barr this upcoming season.

The thing that stands out to me is he’s a big, long athletic guy that’s able to cover space really well, he understands the game and you can see it in his reads and in his keys that he flows really well ... He was a transition guy in college like I was. To be able to see what were some of the keys and tools he used to help him with his transition and be able to pick his mind with stuff like that. - Troy Dye on Anthony Barr

The Vikings run one of the more complex defensive systems in the NFL that prioritizes disguising blitzes to manufacture pressure through design rather than sending raw numbers, but their most famous blitz package includes the double-A gap blitz. Even if the Vikings don't send linebackers on both sides of the center, the threat forces the opposing lines to prioritize handling pressure up the middle, giving edge rusher Danielle Hunter single coverage on the outside. 

Dye, who was recruited to Oregon to be a 4-3 middle linebacker, should fit in well in Zimmers' system, but the pandemic limiting rookie minicamp opportunities and practice time in general before the season's scheduled to start makes it unlikely he contributes a ton as a rookie. However, Dye did need to learn three different defensive playbooks while as a Duck so perhaps he can be a quick learner and excel in training camp time they will have.

Where Dye can help out the most is run defense where the Vikings somewhat struggled giving up 4.3 yards per carry last season (tied for 18th). Despite that, the Vikings ranked eighth in points per drive given up (1.76) due to Zimmer's ability to dial up the perfect third-down blitz package to get off the field. 

Expect Dye to be shooting through the A gap sooner than later in US Bank Stadium. 

The Minnesota Vikings select Troy Dye No. 132 in 2020 NFL Draft

The Minnesota Vikings select Troy Dye No. 132 in 2020 NFL Draft

The first and only player in Oregon Football history to lead the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons, linebacker Troy Dye, has found his new home in the NFL.

The Norco, California native and AP All Pac-12 Conference first team player will now join the Minnesota Vikings, as the team’s 132nd overall selection in the 2020 NFL Draft.

TROY DYE

Position: Linebacker

Year: Senior 

Hometown: Norco, CA

Measurables

Height: 6’3” 

Weight: 231 pounds

Hand: 9 3/8”

Arm: 32 1/4

Wingspan: 77

NFL Combine participant, but held his own make-shift Pro Day: 

OREGON RESUME

Dye finished third in Oregon program history in career tackles (397) and tied for fourth in tackles for loss (44.0). Throughout his four-year career at Oregon, Dye went through three different defensive coordinators: Brady Hoke, Jim Leavitt and Andy Avalos. That constant change put a lot of pressure for leadership on Dye’s shoulders, and by Dye returning to Oregon for his senior year, put the cherry on top of an exponentially growing program going from a 4-8 season in 2017 to a Rose Bowl victory in 2020.

You're not the only one surprised Troy Dye is still on the NFL Draft boards

You're not the only one surprised Troy Dye is still on the NFL Draft boards

UPDATE: Troy Dye is headed to the Minnesota Vikings with the No. 132nd overall pick. SKOL Ducks! 

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Day two of the 2020 NFL Draft is officially in the books.

One surprising takeaway through the first three rounds of this draft is seeing one name in particular still there: Troy Dye.

The Oregon Ducks linebacker, who is the first Duck to lead the team in tackles every season in his four-year career at Oregon, was a projected late third-round pick by several mock drafts, but no team has pulled the trigger yet.

Social media, along with Dye himself, took notice:

However, it may not take long into Saturday morning to hear Dye's name be called as he is the seventh best available prospect, according to Mel Kiper:

Round 4 begins Saturday morning at 9 a.m. (PT) with the Cincinnati Bengals picking first.

No Ducks drafted on Friday, but here’s what to expect on day three of NFL Draft

No Ducks drafted on Friday, but here’s what to expect on day three of NFL Draft

Oregon football fans and coaches celebrated accordingly when quarterback Justin Herbert was selected No. 6 overall to the Los Angeles Chargers in the 2020 NFL Draft on Thursday night. 

[RELATED]: WATCH Oregon football staff congratulates Justin Herbert with car honking caravan

On Friday night, day two of the draft, there were no Ducks selected which was a tad surprising. Offensive lineman Shane Lemieux and linebacker Troy Dye were projected late day two prospects, according to several mock drafts, but will now have to wait until Saturday on day three of the draft to hear their names called.

Here are possible destinations for the remaining Ducks on the draft board:

SHANE LEMIEUX

Rd. 4 / Pick 132: Minnesota Vikings

Rd. 5 / Pick 156: San Francisco 49ers (from Denver)

TROY DYE

Rd. 4 / Pick 109: Detroit Lions (from L.A. Chargers)

Rd. 4 / Pick 131: Arizona Cardinals (from Houston)

Rd. 5 / Pick 176: Minnesota (from San Francisco)

According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper, Dye will begin day three of the draft as the 7th best available prospect.

Other Oregon players to watch out for on day three:

- Offensive lineman Calvin Throckmorton

- Offensive lineman/center Jake Hanson

- Tight end Jacob Breeland

- Wide receiver Juwan Johnson

Be sure to set your alarm clocks early on Saturday morning as we could see two potential Ducks taken right away.