Michael Mauti watched April's NFL draft for three days, unsure where, or if, he would get the chance to continue his football career at the next level.

Six rounds went by and Mauti, the Penn State linebacker who was on the Butkus Award watch list at the start of the season for the top linebacker in college football, and Mauti didn't get the call he was hoping for. If he needed reminding of why he was still around in the seventh round, all Mauti had to do was look at his knees.

Those knees are the only reason he was there for the Minnesota Vikings at pick No. 213, the first of three seventh-round picks by Minnesota.

"I really tried to go into this draft without expectations just because I understand my situation medically," Mauti said. "(The draft) got more and more difficult as time went on, but I couldn't be happier to get picked by such a great organization."

Mauti's on-field performance doesn't come with much questioning and he's been described as a leader.

The one thing that let Mauti down in his career at Penn State was his own knees. First it was his right anterior cruciate ligament in 2009, a torn ACL. Then his left ACL gave out in 2011. Each time Mauti returned to the field for the Nittany Lions. Then last year his season ended when his left ACL tore again in November, ending his senior season after 11 games in which he had 95 tackles, two sacks, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.

"I got high-low and there was nothing I can do about that one," Mauti said.

Mauti, son of former NFL receiver Rich Mauti, was only an observer at last weekend's rookie minicamp for the Vikings. He's less than seven months from his latest surgery and still in rehab, making his chances at an immediate impact in Minnesota unlikely.