It wasn't supposed to be this way for Nick Rogers. He played in all 32 games for the Vikings the last two seasons and started 16, including 11 in 2002. Proving his versatility, Rogers also led the team with 24 tackles on special teams.
Certainly, Rogers expected once again to have a role with the team that drafted him out of Georgia Tech in 2002. After playing exclusively at linebacker in his brief NFL career, the Vikings wanted him to switch to defensive end this summer. Although he played two seasons in college at defensive end, Rogers had to once again relearn the position and he thought the best was yet to come.
While that may be true, it will be in a different uniform and at a different position. The Vikings released the 6-2, 252 pound Rogers when they trimmed their roster on cut-down day nearly two weeks ago. Soon after, the Packers picked him up on waivers to bolster their linebacker corps.
Rogers admits the whole process took him by surprise.
"It never happened to me before so it was kind of shocking," Rogers said. "I kind of thought it might happen, but until something does it's kind of like 'wow.' It definitely throws you back."
Rogers insisted he wasn't worried about having another chance in the NFL. He said that his ability to play special teams no doubt played a role in him landing a spot with the Packers.
"Teams are always looking at film, especially guys in the division," Rogers explained. "When they get released and if they played well against them, that's what they do a lot of times. I think for a good amount of time my role will be special teams."
That's exactly where Rogers found himself Monday night at Carolina and last Sunday against Chicago. Although Rogers is happy with his role in Green Bay he thinks he will be able to contribute even more in the future.
"I think as the games get going my role should expand as far as playing linebacker, coming off the bench and helping some guys get a break," Rogers said. "That's all I can do.
"I just want to contribute anyway I can to help the team out because they already have some great linebackers. I want to learn from them and from the coaches and get better as a linebacker."
It would be understandable if Rogers had trouble adjusting to a new defensive scheme and a new environment in Green Bay, but he said he is handling both aspects just fine.
"I'm just ready to play," Rogers explained. "I love football. It's a new scheme but once you get on the field, I don't care who you're playing for, football is football. Of course I got comfortable playing for the Vikings for two years, but I'm with Green Bay now and it's another opportunity to play football."
Rogers said that he remembers visiting Lambeau Field while with the Vikings and he was quite impressed with the atmosphere. Like many newcomers, Rogers said that's something he has never experienced before.
"The first time I played here was incredible as far as the fans and tailgating," Rogers said. "Here you can see for miles and miles people tailgating outside the stadium. It was almost like a college feel and I like that. I kind of wanted that when I was in college so it's cool that I'm getting it in the pros."
The fact that Rogers will be getting that experience in Green Bay hasn't left him with any bitter feelings toward the Vikings, however.
"I don't have any ill feelings toward them, I'm just glad they gave me the opportunity to be in the NFL," Rogers explained.
So when the Packers square off against their bitter rivals from Minnesota, will there be any extra motivation for Rogers?
"It's just another team that we have to face. I'm going to approach those games like any other game and that's to win."
If Rogers accomplishes that goal, his acquisition will be more than worth it for the Green Bay Packers.