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MINNESOTA VIKINGS

Pro Sports Daily     Official Site     USA Today     Pro Football Weekly     Vikings Stats     ESPN


2009 draft       2008 draft     2007 draft     2006 draft

2005 draft     2004 draft     2003 draft     2002 draft

 

2009 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 22 Percy Harvin WR Florida #5 WR Round 1
2 54 Phil Loadholt OT Oklahoma #8 OT Round 2

Senior Bowl practice comment

Loadholt started quickly and came back to earth a bit.  Still he is a very big kid who at times dominated in the one-on-one drills.

ONE ON ONE BLOCKING DRILLS SCORED BY JAY GOLDBERG

11 - 7 Jackson 2-0 Davis 5-1 Brown 3-1 Sintim 1-1 Jamison 0-2 Barwin 0-2
3 86 Asher Allen CB Georgia #15 CB Round 4
5 150 Jasper Brinkley ILB South Carolina #3 ILB Round 2

East West Shrine Game

Brinkley is a big kid with good strength.  He was a force against the run, especially in short yardage and goal line situations.  I will need to see his workout numbers before I can assess how well he will transfer his skills to the NFL.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Brinkley is going to be a special player in the NFL.  He has the size to play inside in a 3-4, and the speed to play the middle in a 4-3.  Brinkley is a force against the run and is a player I would target early if I needed an inside linebacker.  In fact, I wouldn't say anything negative if a team selected him late in round one.  That's how highly I rate this player.
7 231 Jamarca Sanford SS Mississippi #6 SS Round 4

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

A safety who possess great strength (29 lifts), terrific speed (4.43 in the forty), good quickness and is tough kid who gives great effort and makes tackles all over the field is a player you'd think would be high on teams' boards. But here's the rub.  The kid is undersized at 5'9.7".  However, he will be a special teams terror and is the type of player who if he gets a chance to play in the base defense because of injury, may never leave the starting lineup.
FA ---- Colt Anderson FS Montana NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Kahlil Bell RB UCLA NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Robert Francois OLB Boston College NR Late Round Value

East West Shrine Game

Francois looked like a tough kid, blowing up plays and making good tackles against the run.

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Francois played a very well at the East West Shrine Game.  While, he may never be a star (or even a full time starter), he will be a reliable backup and top special teams player.  Francois has good speed, is a sure tackler and a very tough kid.
FA ---- Juan Garcia OC/OG Washington #9 OC Round 5
FA ---- Sean Glennon QB Virginia Tech NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Devon Hall SS Utah State #10 SS Round 5

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Hall has an excellent mix of size, speed, strength and athleticism.  Hall will be a terrific special teams player while he hones his craft at strong safety.
FA ---- Antoine Holmes DT North Carolina State NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Ian Johnson RB Boise State #9 RB Round 3

Player who will have a better NFL career than many drafted higher than him.

Ian Johnson is a poor man's Chris Johnson, Tennessee's first round pick of last year.  No, he is not as fast; but who is?  Still Johnson ran a 4.38 forty, lifted the bar 26 times, and displays, both on the field and in workouts, good quickness and cutting ability.  However, it is Johnson's ability to split out wide and be an effective downfield receiver that draws comparisons to Chris Johnson.  Ian Johnson will go mid-to-late on day two, and the team that drafts him will get a player that will contribute in a variety of ways on offense.
FA ---- Bobby Lepori OT Fresno State NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Nick Moore WR Toledo NR 7th/FA
FA ---- Vinny Perretta WR Boise State NR Late Round Value

 

A

2009 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Vikings are a perfect example of not stopping after the draft is over.  In addition to a near perfect draft, they had a tremendous college street free agent signing period.  Great job by the Vikings.

DRAFT PICKS

While I had Nicks with a higher grade than Harvin it would have been a difficult choice for me on which one to slect here as well.  Nicks is as close to NFL-ready as any receiver in the draft.  He has great, and I mean great hands and would have been a perfect compliment to Berrian.  However, if the Vikings still have faith in Rice, Harvin adds a playmaker in both the base offense, gimmick offenses and in the return game.  Tough call, but I can see it either way.

Loadholt is an ideal fit at right tackle for the run-first Vikings.  He is a big kid with a massive wingspan and has a chance to start right away.

While I believe Allen can be a solid contributor at corner for Minnesota, I believe Keenan Lewis is going to be one of the better starting corners in the NFL down the line and he would have been my selection.  However Allen is a smart, tough kid who could replace Winfield in a couple of years.

Brinkley was one of my favorite players in the draft.  A strong, tough kid, he finally rebounded fully from injury and put up incredible numbers during his workout.  It wouldn't surprise me if in two years Henderson is kicked back outside to WILL so Brinkley can start at MIKE (with Greenway at SAM).  

Sanford is short but has a Bob-Sanders-like mentality.  He is strong, fast and quick and will be a top special teams player.  He is not as skilled, obviously as Sanders, so don't expect him to challenge Johnson at strong safety, but he's good enough to play in the base defense if injuries occur.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Anderson is a heady player who will excel on special teams and be a capable backup free safety.  He will push Frampton to back up Williams, a player who gets hurt ofetn.

Bell never blossomed as hoped at UCLA.  One reason is his lack of speed.  With the talent at running back in camp, he faces long odds of making the team.

Francois has a real shot to win a backup linebacker position with the Vikings.  In fact, I expect him to do so.  He is an active player who will be able to help a team get bye if injuries occur and will be a very good special teams player. 

Garcia got lost a bit because of the depth at center in this draft.  He is clearly a cut below some of the others, but in other years if he went in round five as an interior backup lineman, no one would have questioned the pick.  He was a nice free agent signing by Minnesota.

Glennon is an accurate passer who could stick on Minnesota's development squad.

Hall has a great mix of size, speed, strength, and athleticism.  He could give Sanford a run for his money, or could force the Vikings to keep both on their roster.  He will be a great specials teams player if he sticks.

Holmes is a strong kid who could use a year on the development squad to bulk up.  He could develop into a nice backup defensive tackle.

Ian Johnson is Chester Taylor's eventual replacement as Peterson's change-of-pace back.  He not only is strong, fast and quick, but has excellent hands as a receiver.  Teams will regret passing on this kid and he will develop into a great part-time runner for Minnesota.  He even has a little Reggie Bush/Chris Johnson in him because he can spread out wide and run wide receiver routes down the field.

Lepori has the look of a player who should be more athletic than he workouts.  If he shows something in camp he could be developed further on the practice squad.

Moore caught 78 balls at Toledo and was even 2 for 2 passing.  He has a decent blend of size, speed and quickness but the numbers are against him to make the team.  He could be a candidate for the development squad.

Perretta is a potential slot receiver.  He has good speed and quickness, can change directions on a dime and is a good athlete.  However, he wasn't as productive at Boise State as you'd think given his attributes.  Still, he could be a late bloomer and be a nice surprise in camp.

For chart below: red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
ARM-HAND relative to position, for ranges see ranking pages for 2009 draft

LAST NAME
at Combine
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HGT WGT ARM-
HAND
BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Harvin Percy Florida 5'11.1" 192 S-L 30 4.37 1.47 2.51 - - - 37.5" 10'1"
Loadholt Phil Oklahoma 6'7.6" 334 XL-L 24 5.45 1.79 3.03 4.77 - 8.18 29' 8'9"
Allen Asher Georgia 5'9.4" 194 S-S 22 4.47 1.50 2.59 4.30 - 6.93 35" 9'7"
Brinkley Jaspar South Carolina 6'1.5" 252 XL-M 26 4.65 1.55 2.68 4.32 - 6.92 35.5" 9'6"
Sanford Jamarca Mississippi 5'9.7" 214 M-S 29 4.43 1.53 2.52 4.20  - 7.02 33.5" 9'8"
Anderson Colt Montana 5'9.4" 194 - 15 4.53 1.53 2.62 4.19 - 6.85 36.5" 10'3"
Bell Kahlil UCLA 5'10.6" 212 M-XL 15 4.68 1.60 2.71 4.20 11.55 6.87 34.5" 9'6"
Francois Robert Boston College 6'2.4" 243 - - 4.59 1.62 2.64 4.34 - 7.11 35.5" 9'10"
Garcia Juan Washington 6'2.2" 307 M-L 34 5.28 1.85 3.02 4.87 - 8.00 25" 7'9"
Glennon Sean Virginia Tech 6'4.1" 220 - - 4.82 1.64 2.76 4.56 - - 33.5" 8'8"
Hall Devon Utah State 6'2.6" 212 - 26 4.48 1.57 2.59 4.21 - 6.95 39" 10'2"
Holmes Antoine North Car State 6'2.1" 289 - 32 4.80 1.70 2.70 4.71 - 7.52 27.5" 8'1"
Johnson Ian Boise State 5'11.2" 212 M-L 26 4.38 1.47 2.53 4.18 11.63 6.86 33" 9'8"
Lepori Bobby Fresno State 6'4.5" 297 - 18 5.37 1.82 3.01 4.55 - 8.02 27" 7'6"
Moore Nick Toledo 6'1.7" 194 - - 4.53 1.53 2.62 4.18 - 6.91 35" 9'10"
Perretta Vinny Boise State 5'9.1" 186 - 14 4.43 1.50 2.53 4.09 - 6.63 36" 10'6"

2009 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY
Major need
     Need     Upgrade possible     Depth/possible need     Not a need

QB Jackson was over-drafted and throw to the wolves way to soon.  If he becomes a productive starter it may have to be after he leaves the Vikings.  Frerotte is a journey man who Minnesota needs to improve upon as a starter.  Booty is not ready.  This team needs to find a quarterback.
RB Peterson and Taylor are a great one-two punch.  Hicks is okay as a #3, but the Vikings could bring in a young player who can double as a return man.  The team could also look to add a fullback.  There are a couple of good ones in the draft.
WR Berrian got the big bucks but is more of a big-play #2 receiver than a clutch number one.  Wade starts should be the team's #3.  Rice hasn't developed and may not get any better than he is right now.  I still have hopes for Allison, but his hiogh mark is also as a big-play #2.  The Vikings need a #1 receiver.
TE Shiancoe is one for two.  He disappointed his first year with Minnesota, but had a nice second year.  Kleinsasser is an UFA.  The Vikings need depth here.
OL The Vikings' line is talented.  While they could return their line in tact, they could look to upgrade Cook at right tackle.  Also starting center Birk is an UFA.
DL This unit is very talented and deep.  Allen, Edwards and Robison are the ends, and Williams, Williams and Evans are the tackles.  They also have useful players beyond these six.
LB The return of Henderson will give the Vikings an excellent starting trio.  Greenway has lived up to his draft status and Leber has blossomed into a solid player and team leader.  The team may look to bring in depth, but they have some skilled backups on hand.
DB Williams and Griffin are a solid pair of corners.  Gordon is coming back from injury and was starting to develop into a reliable nickel.  McCauley is a young player who will get a chance to compete for playing time.  At safety Sharper is an UFA, but Johnson is on hand to take his place.  Williams was hurt early, but played as expected when he returned.  Drafting a safety to compete for a prime backup spot is a possibility.
ST Longwell and Kluwe are solid.  The Vikings will look to add a returner who will allow them to remove Berrian from punt returns and be an upgrade in the kick return game.

 

2008 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
2 43 Tyrell Johnson SS/FS 5'11.7" 207 Arkansas St #2 SS Round 2
5 137 John David Booty QB 6'2.3" 218 USC #5 QB Round 3
5 152 Letroy Guion DT 6'3.3" 303 Florida State #14 DT Round 4
6 187 John Sullivan C 6'3.5" 301 Notre Dame #5 C Round 4/Round 5
6 192 Jaymar Johnson WR 5'11.1" 177 Jackson State   Late Round Value
FA   Husain Abdullah FS 5'11.7" 204 Washington St   Late Round Value/Free Agent
FA   Marcus Griffin FS/SS 5'10.2" 201 Texas #7 FS Round 4/Round 5
FA   Erin Henderson OLB 6'2.6" 244 Maryland #6 OLB Round 3
FA   Jeremy Leman ILB 6'1.6" 245 Illinois   Late Round Value
FA   Darius Reynaud WR 5'9.2" 201 West Virginia   Late Round Value
FA   Brandon Sumrall CB/Ret 5'9.7" 195 S Mississippi   Late Round Value
FA   Marcus Walker CB 5'10.3" 198 Oklahoma   Late Round Value/Free Agent
FA   Kyle Wright QB 6'3.3" 218 Miami   Late Round Value/Free Agent

 

B+

2008 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Vikings' three biggest needs heading into this season was defensive end, which they addressed very well with the trade for Allen.  This grade includes Allen.  The Vikings got great value in Booty in round 5 and signed two of the the top college street free agents by playing the brother card (one of their players, one from the Titans).  

DRAFT PICKS

Johnson can be a special player.  To prove how much I like him, I drafted him in my fantasy football college draft, which is held the morning before the NFL Draft.  Johnson is extremely strong, has top end speed for a strong safety and is a good athlete.  I can see him pushing Sharper for playing time in the base defense this year.

Booty was a steal in round five.  Worst case he should be a top NFL backup quarterback.  Best case he could be a solid starter.  The Vikings now have short term Jackson-insurance (Frerotte) and long term Jackson-insurance (Booty).  Booty is not a top athlete, and doesn't have a big arm, but is accurate and manages games well.

Guion was good value in round five.  He isn't going to be a top starter, and is not an eventually replacement for Pat Williams, but should develop into as solid sub who can spell starters and hold his own.

Sullivan was thought to be a power player and then only lifted the bar 21 times.  When the numbers don't compute players fall in the draft.  Time will tell if his functional football strength is better than his workout.  If it is, Minnesota has a good player.  If his strength on film was due to the competition he played, than Sullivan may need time to develop on the practice squad.  Wide receiver Paul Hubbard would have been my pick.  He was selected one spot higher than Jaymar Johnson and has a much bigger upside than Johnson.

Speaking of Johnson, he is quick, light receiver who makes sharp cuts and will work out of the slot.  He is not, however, as good as Wade or Allison and may have a hard time making the team.  By the way, Allison is a player I like a lot.

COLLEGE STREET FREE AGENTS

Abdullah is an active safety with a nose for the ball.  He could be a valuable backup and special teams player but faces long odds to stick on the roster.

Griffin is the first brother connection (Michael from the Titans).  He has a better chance to stick because he is more athletic than Abdullah.  However, he isn't as physical.  Griffin does have the size and strength, however, to be "guided" into playing more physically.  Being a free agent could help in that transition since he isn't guaranteed anything.

Henderson is the brother of E.J. and a player I had a third round grade on.  The linebackers were a difficult position to grade this year (after the top few) because measureables didn't line up with film study.  Henderson is a case in point.  On film he looks like a solid, if unspectacular WILL.  His measureables don't project him as fast or quick enough to be a tackle-hound in the NFL.  Therefore, I project him now as a SAM.  He has good strength and smarts, but will have to get better playing off tackles.  And, just a thought.  How does E.J. react if his kid brother is cut loose (not even landing on the practice squad)?

Leman is a strong kid who gets the most out of his abilities.  He has the look of a long time backup, top special teams player, who can fill in and hold his own when called upon.  Pope will have a fight on his hands to keep his backup middle linebacker job.

Reynaud is very similarly graded in my book to Jaymar Jackson.  Like Jackson, he is best suited to the slot, and like Jackson he will have his hands full trying to make the team.

Sumrall is a quick corner with good feet who could be effective in the cover-two scheme.  He is a smart kid and has a nose for the ball picking off 6 passes last year.  Like many cover-two corners, his long speed is suspect.  Sumrall will be interesting to watch in eartly exhibition games.  He also returns punts.

Walker is more physically gifted than Sumrall, but doesn't have his feel for the game.  If the Vikings want a backup corner who will be used more on special teams, Walker gets the edge over Sumrall.   My best guess, Sumrall may be targeted for the practice squad if he doesn't earn the #4 corner position, while Walker either makes the team to play on special teams or gets cut.

Wright was suppose to be a top college quarterback at Miami but that never happened.  He is worth a look in camp and could make the practice squad if he shows anything close to what was expected of him in college.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft
(blue college name indicates workout #'s include Pro Day numbers)

COMBINE
YES
FIRST NAME SCHOOL HEIGHT WEIGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT LONG 3 CONE VERT BROAD
Johnson Tyrell ARKANSAS ST 5'11.7" 207 27 4.41 1.44 2.52 NA  NA NA 32" 10'7"
Booty John David USC 6'2.3" 218 NA 4.82 1.67 2.76 4.58 NA NA 22.5" 8'3"
Guion Letroy FLORIDA ST 6'3.3" 303 26 5.20 1.79 2.96 4.50 NA 7.51 30" 8'10"
Sullivan John NOTRE DAME 6'3.5" 301 21 5.36 1.80 3.03 4.55 NA 7.62 30" 8'7"
Jackson Jaymar JACKSON ST 5'11.1" 177 14 4.49 1.56 2.63 4.18 11.43 6.75 32" 9'10"
Abdullah Husain WASH ST 5'11.7" 204 16 4.63 1.56 2.63 4.12 NA 7.07 32.5" 9'7"
Griffin Marcus TEXAS 5'10.2" 201 14 4.51 1.54 2.66 4.19 NA 7.09 37.5" 10'5"
Henderson Erin MARYLAND 6'2.6" 244 23 4.73 1.59 2.72 4.50 NA 7.16 31" 9'5"
Leman Jeremy ILLINOIS 6'1.6" 245 26 NA NA NA NA NA NA NA NA
Reynaud Darius WEST VIRG 5'9.2" 201 20 4.47 1.47 2.56 4.32 11.47 6.88 37" 10'7"
Sumrall Brandon S MISSISSIPPI 5'9.7" 195 16 4.60 1.57 2.61 4.10 NA 6.76 34.5" 10'3"
Walker Marcus OKLAHOMA 5'10.3" 198 7 4.46 1.46 2.53 4.10 NA 6.80 37" 10'2"
Wright Kyle MIAMI 6'3.3" 218 NA 4.84 1.63 2.80 4.32 NA 6.97 31" 8'9"

2008 NEEDS PRIOR TO DRAFT AND FREE AGENCY

MIN       Major Need          Need          Upgrade         Depth Need         Not a Need

QB  The Vikings need an upgrade.  Whether that comes from improvement from Jackson, or bringing in a vet remains to be seen.  Bollinger and Holcomb are both good backups, but are not enough of an upgrade to sit Jackson.
RB  There are teams where Moore would represent hope and an upgrade at running back and he can't see the field when the Vikings top two backs are healthy.  He is a free agent and almost certain to leave.  Richardson is a top tier fullback, but he too is a free agent.  With Peterson and Taylor still around, however, all the Vikings may need is some end of the roster type players.
WR  This is a position in transition.  It's time for Williamson to go, and for Wade to be a #3 receiver not a starter.  Rice had some nice moments and could be a solid starter in his second year.  Allison is a speedy receiver with good potential, but is probably a year away from being a major contributor on offense.  He could replace Wade as the #3 wideout next year.  A solid, reliable,  #2 receiver should be added in free agency.  A player like Bryant Johnson could be a good fit. 
TE Shiancoe was a disappointment.  An upgrade could be in order.  Kleinsasser is a useful backup.
OL  The Vikings have a solid line and some potential on their bench.  However, a guard who can compete for a backup spot could be added.
DL This team needs a dominating pass rushing defensive end.  Udeze and Edwards are okay, but the team needs a player who offenses fear as a pass rusher.   
LB A solid starting unit and good depth mark this unit.  The Vikings will likely add some bodies to challenge for backup spots in camp, but any linebacker coming to this camp should do so knowing his odds are long in making the team.
DB McCauley and Gordon are okay as backup corners, but an upgrade could be secured this offseason, especially through the draft where Winfield's eventual replacement could be added.  A starter at free safety (for Smith) and a young strong safety to groom behind Sharper should also be added.
ST Kicking and punting is in good hands.  Allison is set as their kick returner.  If Moore leaves in free agency (very likely), a punt returner will need to be added. 

 

2007 DRAFT PICKS
links go to NFL.com website

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's Draft Value
1 7 Peterson, Adrian RB 6-2 218 Oklahoma # 1 RB Round 1
2 44 Rice, Sidney WR 6-4 202 South Carolina # 8 WR Round 2
3 72 McCauley, Marcus CB 6-1 200 Fresno State # 6 CB Round 2
4 102 Robison, Brian DE 6-2 266 Texas # 9 DE Round 3
5 146 Allison, Aundrae WR 6-0 202 East Carolina #11 WR Round 3
6 176 Alexander, Rufus OLB 6-1 227 Oklahoma # 6  OLB Round 2
7 217 Thigpen, Tyler QB 6-2 223 Coastal Carolina Late Round Value
7 233 Williams, Chandler WR 5-11 184 Florida International Late Round Value
FA Cook, Kyle G/C 6-4 291 Michigan State Late Round Value
FA Herron, David ILB 6-1 248 Michigan State Late Round Value
FA Johnson, Chase OT 6-8 330 Wyoming Late Round Value
FA Jones, Braden TE 6-3 260 Southern Illinois Late Round Value
FA Mozes, Dan C 6-2 300 West Virginia # 6 C Round 4
FA Whitlock, Arlee RB 5-9 205 Southern Illinois Late Round Value

 

A-

2007 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Vikings had an excellent draft, stealing Allison and Alexander on day two.  They also signed one of the top college street free agents available in center Dan Mozes.

Looks like the Vikings agree with me, not Larry the Lip (another 900 Football Links analyst) regarding Chester Taylor.  I think he is a nice back, but not a franchise back.  Larry thought he was the long term answer for Minnesota at tailback.  Peterson will soon move Taylor to the bench.  Peterson will grow into 1,500 yard, double digit, pro bowl caliber running back.  In case the worry some have (not me) that Peterson will be injury-prone comes true, Taylor is a fine backup.  However, if Peterson stays healthy, I like Moore as a change-of-pace, third-down back more than Taylor.  The Vikings needed receivers badly and in Rice they got one who will develop into a solid #2.  He has good size, can go up to get the ball and has very good hands.  His speed is okay, but he is more straight line then quick-cutting or RAC.  He is also young and a little immature so it remains to be seen how much he will contribute his rookie year.  McCauley fell to round three because of a drop-off his senior year and an inconsistent post season.  However, he has good size and speed, is a top athlete, and has the skills to shadow quick-cutting receivers.  With coaching, McCauley could develop into a very good NFL cornerback.  He was very good value in round three.  I thought Robison would go to a 3-4 team as an OLB.  He is a very athletic, very fast, very quick defensive end.  He also has good strength.  Robison will be, at worst, a terror on special teams, and an excellent pass rush specialist.  He is a bit undersized, but he could develop into a starting defensive end down the line.  Robison is a player to watch.  Allison was a fifth round steal.  He is fast, athletic, and has good moves.  During the post-season he displayed good hands.  He is more NFL-ready than Rice right now and could be ideal as the Vikings third wideout no matter who starts.  I knew Alexander would fall from my second round grade, but I didn't expect it to be to round six.  Maybe it is because he projects as only a middle of the road special teams cover guy so he has less value as a backup.  However, as a linebacker, he makes tackles all over the field because he has good read and react skills.  His speed and quickness are only average.  Another knock on him was that he would avoid contact moving around blockers to get to a ball-carrier rather than taking on blocks.  However, the one area he performed near the top of his position in workouts was in the bench press.  So he has the strength to take on blockers and can be worked with.  Alexander could challenge Leber in a year or two and be a quality reserve in the meantime.  Thigpen had an excellent college career and has the potential to develop into a reliable backup.  He has good feet and a NFL arm but needs to make better decisions.  Williams is another small school player with impressive numbers.  His best chance to make the Vikings' roster will be as a kick returner.  He has good straight-line speed.

Minnesota signed a number of college street free agents of note.  Cook is a very strong kid who is a scrapper, goes all out and has quick feet.  He could stick as a backup center and guard.  Herron is a read and react inside linebacker who may have had a better chance to stick on a team that plays a 3-4 defense.  However, he is worth a look in camp.  Johnson is a monster of a man who needs to get stronger and could land on the Vikings' developmental squad.  Jones could be one of the surprises of camp.  He has good speed, quickness, and athleticism for a tight end and is an above-average blocker in the running game.  He can play h-back and fullback in addition to tight end.  He also has good receiving skills.  Mozes plays with good technique but isn't overly athletic.  He could be a long-term NFL backup.  Whitlock is a player I like but he will have a hard time beating out Fason for a possible fourth running back spot on the roster.  He runs hard, catches the ball well, and is a good kick returner.  Look for him to make the Vikings' development squad.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
PETERSON ADRIAN OKLAHOMA RB 6'1.4" 217   4.40 1.53 2.58   11.78 7.09 38.5" 10'7"
Peterson is the best running back in the draft and will be a star in the NFL.  He has speed and strength and is a great athlete.  Some may question his durability, but not me.  Yes, he has been hurt, but he plays injured and there is no reason to think his history of injuries will follow him to the NFL.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
RICE SIDNEY SOUTH CAROLINA WR 6'3.4" 200   4.53  1.47 2.59 4.34 11.75 7.09 39.5" 9'11"
Rice has good size and good hands and will be a solid #2 NFL receiver.  He has okay speed but only average quickness.  He is young so he may not contribute much his rookie campaign.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
MCCAULEY MARCUS FRESNO ST CB 6'0.6" 203 17 4.39 1.43 2.53 4.17 11.50 6.61 36.5" 10'9"
McCauley got a bad rap in the post-season.  While his play fell off his senior year and he had both good and bad moments in the post-season, he has the skills and measurables to be a top-flight NFL cornerback.  He has good size and speed, is very athletic, and and cut on a dime.  He needs work on technique to be consistent, but a good coaching staff can make him a star.

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

POS HGHT WGHT BENCH 40 10 20 SHORT
SHUTTLE
LONG
SHUTTLE
3
 CONE
VERTICAL
JUMP
BROAD
JUMP
ROBISON BRIAN TEXAS-AUSTIN DE/OLB 6'3.1" 259 27 4.67 1.49 2.65 4.26   6.89 40.5" 10'1"

PLAYER WHO COULD HAVE A BETTER NFL CAREER THAN PLAYERS SELECTED AHEAD OF HIM in the DRAFT

Of all the defensive ends being looked at to move to outside linebacker in a 3-4, Robison intrigues me the most.  He has the speed, quickness, and athleticism to make the transition.  He also has the right build and is a strong kid.  In fact, I look for Robison to be a better NFL player than college player because of the position switch.  While Moses and Woodley are getting more press as potential 3-4 linebackers, Robison will be a better OLB than either of them.  

COMBINE
YES

 

COLLEGE

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ALLISON AUNDRAE EAST CAROLINA WR 6'0.8" 208   4.39 1.43 2.46 4.25   6.81 37" 10'7"
Allison is a very underrated receiver.  He has good speed, makes sharp cuts, and is a top athlete.  He looked very good at Senior Bowl practices showing better hands than originally thought.

COMBINE
YES

 

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ALEXANDER RUFUS OKLAHOMA OLB 6'0.7" 228 26 4.69 1.56 2.68 4.27   7.06 35" 9'9"
On the field Alexander looks late a solid #2.  However, his workout numbers aren't near the top of his position.  He was a tackle-hound in college with good read and react skills.  While he ran around some blocks, he showed good strength during workouts so that should be correctible in the NFL.

COMBINE
NO

 

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THIGPEN TYLER COASTAL CAR QB 6'1.7" 223   4.78 1.65 2.78 4.40   7.11 29" 8'9
Thigpen had a great career at Coastal Carolina.  He has good feet and a NFL arm, but needs work on his decision-making and at times is inconsistent throwing the ball.

COMBINE
YES

 

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WILLIAMS CHANDLER FLORIDA INT WR/RET 5'10.6" 184   4.43  1.57 2.56 4.29 11.34 6.99 33" 10'3"
Williams has good hands and straight-line speed.  He caught over 200 balls in college.  His best chance to stick in the NFL will be as a return man and backup receiver.

COMBINE
NO

 

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COOK KYLE MICHIGAN ST OG/C 6'3.5" 291 40 5.28 1.82 3.07 4.51   7.56 28" 8'5"
Cook is a tough kid who could stick as a backup.  He has good feet and is very strong.  He need to bulk up to play guard.

COMBINE
NO

 

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HERRON DAVID MICHIGAN STATE ILB 6'0.7" 248                  
Herron is a smart kid who reads and reacts well.  He has limited speed so may be best served on a team that plays a 3-4 defense.

COMBINE
YES

 

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JOHNSON CHASE WYOMING OT 6'8.4" 330   5.41 1.91 3.09 4.70   8.15 27" 7'7"
Johnson has rare size and could find his way onto a teams' development squad.  He needs to get stronger.

COMBINE
NO

 

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JONES BRADEN SOUTHERN ILL TE 6'3.2" 260 20 4.58 1.58 2.62 4.28   7.19 39" 10'6"
Jones had a great workout that should put him on teams' radars.  He is a good blocker in the run game and could play tight end, h-back and even fullback.

COMBINE
YES

 

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MOZES DAN WEST VIRGINIA C 6'2.3" 300 28 5.36 1.84 3.11 4.64   7.67 26.5" 8'5"
Mozes may not wow anyone in the weight room but he plays with good technique and is very effective on the field.  

COMBINE
NO

 

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WHITLOCK ARKEE SOUTHERN ILL RB/RET 5'9.2" 205 16 4.60 1.54 2.63 4.31   7.07 32" 9'2"
At the Hula Bowl Whitlock looked quick, made sharp cuts, looked good catching the ball, and ran well.  He also showed good kick return skills.  Whitlock could stick as a third down back and return specialist.

 

2007 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO THE DRAFT and FREE AGENCY
major need     need     depth/possible need     not a significant need

QB Jackson is their future, but the Vikes are higher on him than me.  Bollinger is a solid backup.
RB Again, the Vikings like Taylor better than me.  I actually think Moore would be more explosive.
WR It may be time to give up on Williamson as a starter, Taylor is an UFA. This position needs a make-over.
TE Kleinsasser and Wiggins are both solid NFL players.
OL Center and the left side is top notch.  The right side could be upgraded.
DL The Vikings have talent here if they stay healthy and play up to their ability.
LB Harris is an UFA but may be allowed to leave with Greenway coming back and Henderson on the bench.
DB With Smoot not expected back and Smith also a possible cut, depth will be needed.  Griffin and Blue are set to start.
ST Maybe a punter, but its not a major need.  With Johnson leaving a kick returned could be added.

2006 DRAFT PICKS
Links go to write-ups at NFL.com

Minnesota
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Jay's ranking Jay's draft value
1 17 Greenway, Chad OLB 6-3 243 Iowa # 3 OLB Round 1
2 48 Griffin, Cedric CB 6-0 198 Texas # 7 CB Round 2
2 51 Cook, Ryan C 6-7 327 New Mexico # 13 OT, # 6 C Round 4
2 64 Jackson, Tarvaris QB 6-2 225 Alabama State # 14 QB Round 4
4 127 Edwards, Ray DE 6-5 279 Purdue # 11 DE Round 3
5 149 Blue, Greg FS 6-2 215 Georgia # 6 SS, # 9 FS Round 4
  FA Henderson, Taurean RB 5-10 204 Texas Tech # 12 RB Round 4
  FA Mathis, Wendell RB 5-11 210 Fresno State Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Penn, Donald OT 6-4 317 Utah State Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Hopoi, Manasi DT 6-4 286 Washington Late Round Value > Round 4
  FA Gordon, Charles CB 5-10 183 Kansas # 19 CB Round 4
  FA Torp, John P 6-2 212 Colorado   Free Agent

 

C+

2006 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

by Jay Goldberg

The Vikings reached with two of their three picks in round two, but got good value on day two, and did an excellent job signing college street free agents.

Greenway is a good football player and should start for the Vikings from day one.  He has good speed and quickness, is athletic, and has excellent football instincts.  Greenway will be a quality starter for the Vikings for a long time.  Griffin is the same mold as Greenway.  He is a football player with excellent instincts who plays better than he tests.  Griffin has good size and superb quickness and strength, but is not as fast as many of the wideouts in the league.  However, Griffin loves to mix it up and is a plus defender stepping up against the run.  Griffin will win the role as the Vikings' nickel, and could step in as a quality starter if Winfield or Smoot gets injured.  I like the selection of Griffin a lot.  The same can't be said for the Vikings' next two picks.  Cook was a reach in round two.  Cook is a strong kid with good feet, but isn't particularly quick or athletic.  Cook's best fit in the NFL may be as a quality reserve since he can play inside and outside on the line.  In round two a team should draft a player that has an excellent shot at being a quality long term starter.  Cook is no sure thing to be a quality long term starter.  I like Chris Chester's potential as a center or guard better than Cook, and he would have been my pick over Cook.  Jackson was a bigger reach than Cook.  Worst case Cook will be a quality backup providing value to Minnesota.  There is a reasonable chance that Jackson will not only never develop in to a starter, but may be a shaky backup as well.  While Jackson was charging up draft boards as draft day neared, I had that charge stopping at a fourth round grade.  While he has a great arm, he is only an average athlete for a quarterback, and had only one year in college where his completion percent was above 53%, and that was in an offense where he threw a lot of dump off passes .  Mark my words, the Vikings passing on Croyle in round two will haunt them for years.  Edwards was a nice get in round four.  He has excellent size and strength and can play the run and get the occasional sack.  Greg Blue is a hitter.  Blue has good skills, but fell in the draft because of a questionable attitude.  He is a big-time hitter who likes to play free safety, but doesn't have the athleticism or playmaking ability to be a plus player at that position.  His hard-hitting approach will be best served at strong safety.  He should also be a good special teams player.  What concerns me the most about Blue, however, was his explaining away a poor Senior Bowl week by saying he "wasn't into it."

The Vikings college street free agent signings moved their grade up from a C to a C+.  Henderson is a running back I like a lot.  I had a fourth round grade on him.  He is a great, not good, receiver out of the backfield, and is a good fit for the offense that Childress ran at Philadelphia.  However, while Henderson picked a good system for him, he may be too much like Moore to stick on the Vikings' active roster.  If not, he should make their practice squad.  Mathis is another interesting running back.  He is very quick, has good cutting ability, and is surprisingly strong for his size.  Mathis, however, is undersized and is more of a change-of-pace back, than a lead back.  Henderson and Mathis will make the running back battle in camp very interesting for Viking fans.  Look for at least one of the young Viking backs (includes Fason and Echemandu) to surface on another teams' roster this year.  Penn played well at the Hula Bowl and then got injured and couldn't work out.  A good workout would have pushed him into the late rounds of the draft so bringing him in for a look is a good idea by the Vikings.  Hopoi is a fast, quick, athletic defensive tackle who lacks the size, base, and strength to play inside on running downs.  However, he could find a niche as an inside rusher in the nickel.  Gordon was a great get as a free agent.  I had a fourth round grade on this football player.  Look for Gordon to make the Vikings' roster and be a contributor.  He can play on special teams' coverage units, return punts and kicks, serve as a quality fourth or fifth receiver, and be a playmaking dime back.  Long term, Gordon's skills translate well to free safety where he could be a very good player.  If Gordon stayed in school for his senior year, he would have been a first day pick next year.

red indicates workout number in top range at position in draft

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Greenway Iowa 6'2.3", 240 4.58 1.61 2.75 4.22   7.01 19 38" 10'0"  
OLB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Greenway looked great during Senior Bowl practices, particularly in pass coverage, and had a solid, albeit unspectacular game.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Greenway plays the run and the pass well.   Greenway will be a sideline-to-sideline tackling machine in the NFL.  Greenway has above average speed and quickness, but plays faster than he times because he has excellent football instincts.  Greenway had a whopping 156 tackles his senior year.
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Griffin Texas 6'0.3", 202 4.49 1.61 2.71 3.97   6.84 17 35.5" 10'5"  

PLAYER WHO WILL PERFORM BETTER IN NFL THAN MANY DRAFTED BEFORE HIM

Griffin doesn't have top tier speed but has good size, a nose for the ball, and excellent instincts.  He should be a solid corner, but worst case can slide over to free safety and start there.  Griffin will be a valuable player while players drafted higher than him, with better workout numbers, struggle to get on the field.
CB/FS
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Griffin showed good cover corner skills and the ability to play the run during the Senior Bowl Game.  He had a very nice game overall.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Griffin is a corner who not only can cover, but is a big hitter who can step up and make a play in the running game.  He is a cover-2 corner more than a strict man-to-man corner.
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Cook New Mexico 6'6.5", 328 5.50 1.88 3.16 4.60   7.46 28 26" 8'5"  
OT/C
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Cook's best asset is his versatility.  He can play any position on the line.  Cook has good strength and good feet, but lacks quickness and is only an average athlete for his position.  Cook would be a nice get on day two because he will be a quality reserve with the potential to start down the line.
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Jackson Alabama St 6'2", 226 4.68 1.63 2.78 4.40   7.71   31.5" 8'11" 19
QB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - At the East West Shrine Game Jackson was inconsistent throwing the ball.  However he moved well in the pocket and can rifle the ball.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Jackson took a tremendous step forward in his senior year.  After laboring around the 50% completion mark his first two years as a starter, he completed 61% last year while throwing 29 TD passes and only 5 interceptions.  Jackson is a good developmental prospect.
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Edwards Purdue 6'5.5", 279 4.79 1.65 2.80 4.59   7.51 30 39" 9'6"  
DE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Edwards has the size and strength to be an anchor against the run.  He is also a good athlete for his size and had 13.5 sacks during his last two years in college.
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Blue Georgia 6'2", 220 4.55 1.60 2.71 4.28   7.09 16 37.5" 10'0"  
SS/OLB/FS
Mark Churnutte, Cincinnati Enquirer - At the Combine Blue said that regarding his poor showing at the Senior Bowl, he "wasn't into it" and found it challenging to get ready to play in just three days. 
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Blue has the skill set to be a solid strong safety, or even weak side linebacker.  He is a big-time hitter.  However, his quote about the Senior Bowl is very troubling.  On the biggest stage of his young career he "wasn't into it."  Whether true or excuse it shows an attitude with which to be concerned. 
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Henderson Texas Tech 5'9.4", 204 4.58 1.63 2.72 4.40   7.01   32.5" 9'4"  
RB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - At the East West Shrine Game, Henderson showed terrific skills.  He is quick, strong, cuts well, and can run inside and outside. He was the best player in the game.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - I absolutely love this kid.  Last year, I had Barber as the best back outside of the top three.  This year I have Henderson after Bush and the second group of three.  He played in a spread offense in college and showed quickness, cutting ability, and the ability to catch.  At the East West Shrine game he lined up in pro sets and ran tough between the tackles.  Henderson will be a steal for some team.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Henderson had trouble with his start during his Combine forty run so may have more game-day long speed than he showed in the drill.  He did show decent quickness and change-of-direction in the drills.  However, his workout does not support me keeping him as high on my draft board as I had him previously.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Henderson may be the best receiver out of the backfield in this draft not named Bush.  In his college career, Henderson caught 301 balls!  In his senior season, out of a spread offense, Henderson ran for almost 900 yards and 17 touchdowns.  Henderson plays faster and quicker on the field than he times, showed the ability to run inside from a pro set at the East West Shrine Game, and worst case, should be a good thord down back.
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Mathis Fresno St 5'11.3", 210 4.51 1.59 2.62 4.17 11.25 6.82 20 36.5" 9'11"  
RB
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Mathis transferred from UCLA and ran for over 1,300 with 15 TDs his senior year.  Mathis is a quick back, with excellent cutting ability, surprising strength and good athleticism.  He could be a good change-of-pace back.
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Penn Utah State 6'4.2", 317             22      
OT/OG
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Penn played well at the Hula Bowl and then was injured so he couldn't work out.  This could cause him to fall out of the draft, but if he worked out he would have gotten consideration late in the draft.
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Hopoi Washington 6'3.5", 286 4.97     4.31   7.53 20 31.5" 9'3"  
DT/DE - NOT AT COMBINE
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Hopoi caught my eye at the East West Shrine Game with a couple of good plays.
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Hopoi may fit best as an end in a 3-4 defense.  While he possess excellent quickness for a defensive tackle, he is too small, and will not be able to hold the line against the run.
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Gordon Kansas 5'10", 183 4.53 1.59 2.66 4.19   6.84 19 35.5" 9'7"  
CB/WR
Jay Goldberg, 900FootballLinks.NET - Gordon is more football player than cornerback or receiver.  However, he could be an invaluable bench player because he can play on special team coverage units, return kicks and punts, be a teams' fourth or fifth receiver, and be a good dime cornerback, and could even develop into a starting free safety because of his combination of a nose for the ball (7 ints his sophomore year) and hands.

 

2006 TEAM NEEDS
prior to free agency

MIN
QB Depending upon what happens with Culpepper and Johnson, either a young (if Johnson starts), or old (if Culpepper) QB could be added in the offseason.
RB I'll go on record (again).  Put Moore in and leave him in and he will be a top starting running back.  Moore can run inside and out, and can catch.  Bennett and Williams are UFAs are are likely gone.  Smith probably won't be asked back.  Fason is a good sub.  I think the Vikings should add a big back for short yardage and goal line running.  Others think they need a starter ahead of Moore.  Time will tell who's right.  Depending upon what offense they employ, a fullback could be a need also.
WR A bunch of number twos and situational players.  The Vikings need a lead receiver.  Burleson isn't it, Williamson isn't it, and even K Robinson, an UFA, isn't it.  They were kidding themselves at how easy it would be to replace Moss.
TE Good players in Kleinsasser and Wiggins.  If the Vikings stay with an H-back and tight end, depth can always be added.
OL The Vikings are set at tackle and center (assuming Birk makes it back).  At guard, they have numbers, although Fonoti, a very big man, is an UFA.  Look for the Vikings to bring in a guard to stir the pot and push for a starting job.
DL James, Williams, Williams, Udeze, are a strong starting front four.  Mosely, Johnson, and Scott provide quality depth.  Johnstone is an UFA.  If he leaves, a pass rush specialist could be added.
LB It's time to start Thomas on the weak side and Henderson in the middle.  Cowart, Smith and Newman are UFAs.  A strong side starting linebacker needs to be added.  Davis is the only proven  returning sub.  Depth is needed.  Harris obtained in the Moss trade didn't pan out.
DB Williams is an UFA and may get a better deal elsewhere.  However, Smoot can step in opposite Winfield.  Brown is also an UFA so depth at corner will need to be addressed in the offseason.  Sharper is a top free safety.  Chavious is an UFA and will leave in the offseason.  The Vikings, therefore, need to find a starting strong safety.
ST Klune and Edinger are a solid duo, although Edinger needs to be more consistent.  K. Robinson was superb returning kicks but is an UFA.  Moore is a top punt returner, but if he becomes the lead back will give up those chores.  Return men, therefore may be a need for the Vikings, depending upon what happens to Robinson and Moore.

 

2005 COLLEGE DRAFT

Minnesota - links below go to NFL.com reports Jaybird Jaybird
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School Ranking Value Board
1 7 Williamson, Troy WR 6-1 203 South Carolina # 6 WR Round 1
1 18 James, Erasmus DE 6-4 263 Wisconsin # 2 DE Round 1
2 49 Johnson, Marcus OG 6-6 321 Mississippi # 2 OG Round 2
3 80 Fox, Dustin CB 5-11 190 Ohio State # 5 FS Round 3
4 112 Fason, Ciatrick RB 6-1 207 Florida # 12 RB Round 3
6 191 Mosley, C.J. DT 6-3 305 Missouri # 9 DT Round 3
7 219 Ward, Adrian CB 5-10 170 Texas-El Paso   > Round 4

 

The Vikings did a very good job in getting value throughout their draft.  Mosley, in round 6, was a particularly good get.

The Vikings continued a fine off-season with a solid draft.  In fact, the one pick I disagree most with was their first.   Sure, Williamson is fast, quick, and athletic, but I'm not convinced he will develop into a top NFL wide receiver.  As the seventh player drafted, I don't think Williamson will ever live up to expectations.  Don't get me wrong, he will be a solid, useful player, but not a star.  As it turns out Jerome Mathis was available as late as the Vikings' pick in round four, and he could have played the deep threat role in the Viking offense.  In fact, in three or four years, I expect Mathis to be a better NFL player than Williamson.  James was a great pick.   He was the best pure pass rushing defensive end in the draft.  he also has the size and ability to be good against the run.  Johnson was an underrated player coming into the draft.  He will be a solid starting guard, who can be effective if needed to play tackle in a pinch.  Fox has everything except strength. He is ideally suited to play free safety.  He has good speed and quickness, and is a superb athlete.  He will need to get stronger so he can play on special teams while he sits behind Sharper.  He is talented enough to be Sharper's eventual replacement, or if Sharper starts to lose a couple of steps, to move into the starting lineup at free safety, while Sharper is moved to strong safety.  Fason was worth a shot in round four.  He plays better than he works out. However, I like Moore as a player better than Fason, even as a starter long term should Bennett leave, and Smith never make it back.  Mosely was a steal in round six.  I had a third round grade on him.  Mosely is not a star, but does everything well.  He is an ideal rotation player, and could even be an effective starter down the road.  Ward is an interesting case.  He is fast, but not quick.  His speed would be an asset on special teams cover units, but his paltry number of bench presses (6), indicate he may not have enough strength to play on cover teams.  Ward will have a hard time making the Vikings' roster.

The Vikings didn't sign any college street free agent that I had listed as value players after the draft.

RED NUMBERS BELOW - among best at position   
Long shuttle numbers (where available) in blue, top performers to be determined later

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Williamson WR 4.38 1.58 4.00 11.10 7.10   41.5"   21
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Supposedly, the fasted receiver in this draft class (I'll wait until after workouts before endorsing that statement).  Will his skills translate into NFL production?  I'm not entirely sold, at least not yet. 
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James DE 4.74 1.63 4.40   7.25   37.5" 10'2" 17
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Excellent pass rusher who has the frame to add ten to twenty pounds of muscle and be a dominate two-way player.
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Johnson DE 5.40 1.87 4.75   7.73 23 27.5" 8'8" 17
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Johnson is flying slightly below the radar right now.  He will be a very good guard in the NFL, and could also be a functional tackle.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Johnson looked like a terrific run blocker during the Senior Bowl game. 
Pat Kirwan of NFL.com reports:
I asked the defensive linemen on both squads which lineman after three days gave them the most trouble and came back with real high grades for Marcus Johnson (Mississippi) a Johnson is 6-foot-6, 315 pounds, can play guard or tackle and moved well. He has very good technique and has a desire to finish his blocks.
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Fox FS/CB 4.47 1.56 4.21 11.46 7.06 7 43.5" 10'7" 21
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Fox has the speed, quickness, athletic ability, and skills to be a very good free safety in the NFL.  However, he needs to work on his strength.
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Fason RB 4.57   4.24 12.07 6.72   36" 9'10" 16
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: I was very disappointed in Fason's workout.  The most telling to me was the 4.24 in the short shuttle, which shows not only suspect speed (forty), but not top notch quickness either.
NFLFans.com reports:
Fason had a big year as a junior and declared. He has all-world speed and good size, no injury concerns. However, he is not a great blocker, and still has room to improve all-around, but he has great potential.
Allen Trieu of NFLDraftShowcase.com reports:
Fason's athletic skills are going to have him going high in this draft. He will have to take some time to adjust to the NFL game and he'll be learn
ing a new offensive system, but he has the talent to do so.
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports:
Good size and speed. Another intriguing prospect.  This is, indeed, a deep running back crop.
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Mosley DT 5.09 1.79 4.65   8.21 27 27.5" 8'6" 19
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Mosley is a solid, but unspectacular player, which is fine for a defensive tackle.  He has enough speed and strength to be an important part of a team's defensive rotation.
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Ward CB 4.37   4.39   7.20 6 39" 9'0"  
Jay Goldberg of 900FootballLinks.NET reports: Ward is an interesting case.  He is fast, but not quick.  His speed would be an asset on special teams cover units, but his paltry number of bench presses (6), indicate he may not have enough strength to play on cover teams.  Ward will have a hard time making an NFL roster.

2005 TEAM NEEDS PRIOR TO FREE AGENCY AND THE DRAFT

Jay Goldberg of 90FootballLinks.NET reports: 
major need         need position         possible need, depth needed    no real need
Key UFA: Claiborne LB, Andersen K, Frerotte QB, Wiggins TE, Dixon G, Newman LB
Key RFA: Russell S, Offord S (3rd), Williams CB (4th), Campbell WR, Haayard G (6th)
NOTE - RFA COMPENSATION AT MINIMUM TENDER

QB: With Frerotte an UFA who will get some play, and Hill a RFA, the Vikings may have to address their backup quarterback situation this offseason.
RB:
The Vikings have too many good players at this spot.  Between Smith, Bennett and Moore, look for three to return.  And they still have Williams and Ned.
WR: With Moss staying put, this position is a strength.  With Moss leaving they don't have a player who can step in a be a number one wideout (Burleson or Robinson).  The need depends upon whether or not they trade Moss.
TE: Wiggins was a great pickup, but he is a free agent.  Kleinsasser is solid when healthy.  They need to resign Wiggins.
OL: Dixon is an UFA, and his backup Haayard is an RFA.  The Vikings line is solid, but they need to bring in players through free agency and the draft for depth, and for proetction at right guard.
DL: How long can you count on Johnstone being your top passing rushing at end?  Udeze will be a good player in time and Scott has potential, but I still believe they need to add a player who can challenge Mixon for a roster spot.  At tackle, Williams is a star, and Johnson was a pleasant surprise.  With Hovan leaving as an UFA, depth is needed.
LB: Claiborne is an UFA and will, most likely, not be resigned.  Henderson is good enough to start, but not dominate enough to be totally satisfied.  Newman is another starter who is an UFA and will be shown the door.  I love the potential of Thomas and would start him in the middle over Henderson, who I would allow to compete for a starting spot on the outside.  The Vikings should bring in a big-play linebacker who can start on the outside.
DB: Chavous is a heady safety who has game.  Russell has limited athletic ability so he needs to pick off passes to keep his starting job.  Winfield is solid.  Williams is an RFA and it will be interesting what the Vikings do with him since he has been up and down.  A safety and corner to compete for starting jobs need to be added, and a nickel corner could also be added if Williams is not resigned.
ST: It's time to get a big-time field goal kicker and let the old man retire.  Bennett is a good punter who did not have one of his better years.  Campbell, a RFA and Moore are set as kick returners, but Burleson is too important in the base offense to keep as the primary punt returner.

 

2004 COLLEGE DRAFT

Minnesota
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 20 Udeze, Kenechi DE 6-3 287 Southern California
2 48 Thomas, Dontarrious OLB 6-2 241 Auburn
3 88 Scott, Darrion DE 6-3 271 Ohio State
4 115 Dorsey, Nat OT 6-7 322 Georgia Tech
4 119 Moore, Mewelde RB 5-10 205 Tulane
5 155 Davis, Rod ILB 6-2 239 Southern Mississippi
6 184 Eiland, Deandre' FS 5-11 202 South Carolina
7 220 Dugan, Jeff TE 6-3 258 Maryland

 

The Viking had a great draft.  I had defensive end Udeze as a top ten pick.  He has the size to stuff the run and the skills to get 8 to 10 sacks a year.  Defensive end was a major need for the Vikings and they got a good one.  Thomas is one of the two top defensive player athletes in the draft (Bob Sanders is the other).  And just like Sanders, he is also a very good football player.  Down the road, Thomas will look like a second round bargain.  I forecast pro bowls in his future.  Scott adds another quality talent to the defensive end position.  He could become a bookend starter with Udeze by next year.  Dorsey was a fourth round steal.  I had a second round grade on this player.  He is a mountain of a man and will have time to develop due to the presence of McKinnie and Rosenthal.  Moore was also good value in round four.  He is an excellent receiver, and is a shifty back.  He will also help on kick returns.  Davis was, yet again, another solid pick.  I had an early third round grade on Davis.  Davis plays better than he tests, but still needs some work in the weight room.  He could be a valuable backup for E. J. Henderson.  Eiland is a real sleeper.  He is a fast safety who can hit.  He will be a special teams star, and could push for a role in the nickel and dime defenses this year; and keep starting free safety Brian Russell on his toes.  Dugan is purely a blocker.  As far as signing college street free agents, the Vikings had success there as well.  Some of the better players the Vikings signed were: running back Butchie Wallace, a player who was nuts to sign with this team because of the talent ahead of him, Wallace has NFL-caliber skills; Lane Danielson, the best of the wide receivers signed by the Vikings, Danielson is a tough guy who just could stick; Richard Owens, a tight end whose best chance to make the team is as a long snapper; anthony Herrera who should make a run at a back-up guard position; Spencer Johnson who has the skills required of the under-tackle position in the Vikings defense; Grant Wiley an undersized middle linebacker who will be a good special teams player and is a player coaches like to have on their teams; and Ben Nauman, a strong safety who should also excel on special teams, and who could develop into a starting strong safety down-the-road.

PLAYER/ TEAM NEWS PRIOR TO DRAFT

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Udeze DE 6-2 7/8, 273 4.77 - 4.69 7.78 25 39" 10-5
Udeze
USC

#1 ranked DE by Jaybird

Pete Fiutak / CollegeFootballNews.com posted at foxsports.com reports: Projected: 1st round, possible top ten.  Good or bad move to come out early? He has the potential to be a superstar at the next level. He's big, strong, and very, very quick. Has the perfect NFL defensive end body and a great work ethic. There's a chance he'll be a top five pick with a great couple of workouts.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: The three fastest-rising draft prospects, according to one AFC personnel chief: wide receiver Mark Clayton of LSU and two Southern Cal players, cornerback Will Poole and defensive end Kenechi Udeze. 
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: There is a terrific debate raging right now over the top two defensive end prospects in next month's draft. Ask 10 personnel directors or scouts about the top guy at the position and five will name Will Smith of Ohio State while the o
ther five cite Southern California standout Kenechi Udeze. There is an increasing possibility now that both will be chosen among the top 12 players next month. Said one scout: "I give the slightest edge to Smith.  But I like the other guy a lot, too, and it's a tough call."
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Thomas I/O 6-2 5/8, 244 4.54 4.00 - 7.39 26 39" 10-9
Thomas
Auburn

#2 ranked ILB and OLB by Jaybird

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: Auburn's Dontarrious Thomas (241 pounds) ran under 4.6 at the combine.
Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: As the draft day countdown approaches three weeks, Kiper has identified Thomas as a fast riser.
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Scott DE 6.03.1, 289 4.75 1.71 4.32 - - 36½" 9-10
Scott
TCU

#6 ranked DE by Jaybird

NFLFans.com reports: DE Scott was said to have a solid pro day workout and enhanced his standing in the draft.
Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: As the draft day countdown approaches three weeks, Kiper has identified Scott as a fast riser.
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Dorsey T 6-6 3/8, 314 5.44 1.89 4.84 8.30 25 28½" 8-6
Dorsey
Georgia

#4 ranked OT by Jaybird

Pete Fiutak / CollegeFootballNews.com posted at foxsports.com reports: Projected: 3rd round to end of first day. Good or bad move to leave early? Dorsey never materialized into the college superstar he was projected to be after a great freshman season. He's big and has good feet for a tackle of his size.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Observation from a  NFL scout at the combine: "(Georgia Tech) offensive tackle Nat Dorsey is just big all over, isn't he? But he looks like a player for whom things came too easily. I mean, he was an all-conference player as a freshman and then it looked in some games like he was playing on reputation. Maybe he should have stayed in school for his senior year, I don't know, but he has to do something to get hungry again about the game. The tools, though, are definitely there."
Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: As the draft day countdown approaches three weeks, Kiper has identified Dorsey as a fast riser.
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Moore 5-10½, 208 4.60 1.61 2.68 4.12 7.05 - 35" 9-10
Moore
Tulane

#9 ranked RB by Jaybird

D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports: Julius Jones would be declared the overall winner  (Senior Bowl practices), but Mewelde Moore came on strong at the end of the week with his receiving ability. 
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: Mewelde Moore, the standout all-purpose tailback from Tulane, isn't fretting that scouts will find him smaller than he was listed on the roster in college. "From what I see now, this isn't a league for big backs anymore," said Moore, a gifted backfield receiver and a prospect tabbed as a third-down back. "They're looking for guys who can make plays out in space, and that's me. Frankly, I think the game is evolving towards backs like me."
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting reports: He looked really impressive in position drills catching and such, but before the RB's were weighed in, scouts asked who would not be lifting and Mewelde was one of many to stand up. When asked why he wouldn't be lifting, Mewelde replied, " My agent advised me not to."
NFLFans.com reports: Moore showed impressive receiving skills, best of the RBs in this area of the combine workouts. Will boost his status.
Mel Kiper of ESPN.com reports: RB Moore is a player Kiper identified as an "under the radar" player.
Vic Ketchman, of jaguars.com reports: Mewelde Moore, 5-10, 209, of Tulane, is the prototypical third-down back. He's not fast but he's elusive. Moore is only an adequate ball-carrier, but a distinct threat as a pass-catcher. He'd represent great value in the third round.
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Eiland FS 5.11.7, 205 4.44 - - - 18 35" -
Eiland
South Carolina

Jaybird: below 4th round

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports:  South Carolina's Deandre Eiland ran in the low 4.4s at the Combine.
NFLFans.com reports: FS Eiland is a track star turned football player player who can deliver the big hit, has the size and speed scouts dream of but must be coached on just one position.
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Davis I 6-2, 238 4.67 - - 6.98 12 36" 9-7
Davis
So. Miss

#4 ranked ILB by Jaybird

D. J. Boyer of Football.com reports: The South linebacking tandem of Daryl Smith (ILB) and Rod Davis (ILB) were the best <linebackers> here (at Senior Bowl practices)
Matt Gambill of AllProScouting reports: His speed has hurt him, but I can assure you that his ability to break down and tackle are not as good as you think. He really tends to get out of position at times and will struggle with his hands in fighting off blocks. He plays a little high and that hurts. Not good in coverage and he was really exposed in Mobile. He's an average NFL prospect right now. He needs to work on flexibility, speed, and lateral movement. He's a 4th rounder in my eyes.
Drew Boylhart of www.thehuddlereport.com reports: Rod Davis - So Mississippi - Was he on the field (Senior Bowl)? He has the talent. Maybe I will have to eat crow on this one. Where did I go wrong? His speed is a big question mark. I have to go back to the film on this guy. He is going to drive me crazy. There is one of these every year.
NFLFans.com reports: Davis has the height, he has the strength, if he can have good times at the combine to dispel the concerns over his speed and improve his coverage skills he would shoot up the draft boards.
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Dugan 6-4 3/8, 263 4.94 - - - - 21 - -
Dugan
Maryland

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports:  Outstanding blocker...good hands....physical and strong ... needs to work on running better and more disciplined routes ... speed limits big play ability. 
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Wallace 6-0, 210 4.47 - - - - 18 - -
Wallace
Marshall

Jaybird: below 4th round

DraftCrazy.com reports: Shifty running back. Has a good juke move. Does a solid job blocking; can chip block. Has ok acceleration. He's a good cut back runner. Has quick feet. Runs good routes out of the back field. Gets good positioning when blocking. Falls forward when tackled, and will get YAC. Has good speed. Catches the ball well. Has good vision and ok power. Runs with his pads parallel to the line of scrimmage. Solid inside runner.  Has only average speed. Doesn't hit the hole real hard, nor does he get to the hole very fast. Runs a little upright. Average size. Not special at anything. Could add some weight. Not a good outside runner; doesn't get to the corner fast enough.
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Danielson 6-0¼, 196 4.57 - - - - 17 - -
Danielson
Iowa State

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: I personally like this kid a lot. He is a great looking blue-collar worker who will contribute as a WR and give you a great special teamer as well. He could be an excellent sleeper selection later in the draft.
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Owens 6.04.2, 271 4.78 - 4.25 12.66 7.66 11 30½" 9-10
Owens
Louisville

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: Owens has already received national awards for his work in civic and charity events and is of excellent character. With his size, athleticism, and versatility, he will undoubtedly be given every chance to make an NFL roster as a valuable #2 TE and used possibly as a long snapper.
KFFL.com reports: Owen's agent Jeff Chilcoat reports to KFFL.com that Owens' long snaps were in the high 0.6s and low 0.7s during windy outdoor conditions.
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Herrera G 6.02.1,317 5.31 1.87 - - 26 - -
Herrera
Tennessee

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLDraftCountdown reports: Very experienced...Has played a lot at both guard spots and even a little at tackle...Athletic...Good size...Good run blocker...Has a mean streak ...Needs to refine his overall technique...Must learn to play with better leverage...Pass blocking is a weakness.
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Scott DT 6-2¾, 291 4.97 - 4.95 8.02 22 - 9-2
S Johnson
Auburn

Jaybird: below 4th round

NFLFans.com reports: I see DT Spencer Johnson as a player who will develop and play very well in the NFL but will probably be no more than a mid day two selection as he is a bit of a developmental project before his can be an every down player.
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Wiley ILB 6-1, 235 - - - - - - -
Wiley
West Virginia

Jaybird: below 4th round

Scott Wight of NFLDraftCountdown reports: Wiley has very few ideal physical tools (if any), but he gets the job done.  He is a classic overachiever, and you never count those guys out.
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Nauman SS 6-1½, 198 4.48 4.09 11.50 6.81 18 34" 9-10
Nauman
Augustana Col

Jaybird: below 4th round

 

Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports: This defensive back played at Augustana College in South Dakota but has been working out with the Wisconsin conditioning coach and worked out with the Badgers.
GBNReport.com reports: FS Ben Nauman of Augustana, who has been running under 4.50 for the 40 and gaining the attention of scouts.
Eric Edholm of ProFootballWeekly.com reports: Under the radar - FS Ben Nauman, Augustana (S.D.) — Nauman (6-1, 198) is your classic Matt Bowen-like head-knocker who might not be the world’s greatest athlete, but he opened some eyes with strong 40-times of 4.48 and 4.49 at his pro day. Nauman likely will make his greatest impact on special teams, where he is fearless and ferocious. With less than 4 percent body fat, he’s a physical specimen, and he showed his toughness this season by playing the remainder of the North Dakota game after breaking his thumb.

 

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT

Minnesota
Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 9 Williams, Kevin DE 6-5 304 Oklahoma State
2 40 Henderson, E.J. ILB 6-1 245 Maryland
3 71 Burleson, Nate WR 6-1 197 Nevada-Reno
4 105 Smith, Onterrio RB 5-10 220 Oregon
6 180 Johnson, Eddie P 6-3 232 Idaho State
6 190 Nattiel, Michael OLB 6-0 228 Florida
7 221 Howry, Keenan WR 5-10 178 Oregon

A-

2003 COLLEGE DRAFT REPORT CARD

Whether the seventh or ninth pick in the draft, Williams was a good pick and will be a very good player in the NFL.  Henderson was good value in round two.  He could push Biekert to the bench by the end of the year.  Burleson may not have the most upside of the receivers in this draft, but he is one of the players most ready to play and contribute in 2004.  He has good hands and is fearless over the middle.  A good pick for the Vikings.  Smith is an interesting prospect.  Most likely he will help in the return game and spell Bennett; at best he will push Bennett for playing time; but at worst he will be disruption in the clubhouse.  Johnson should be the Vikings punter and handle kickoffs.  Nattiel was excellent value in round six.  He will be a good special team player and could develop into a starter down the road.  Howry can return kicks and work as a slot receiver.  
K Williams Gil Brandt, for NFL.com, reports, Oklahoma State's Kevin Williams measured  6-4 7/8, 304 at the combine.
AllProScouting.com reports Kevin Williams - Oklahoma St: good session, impressed with solid workouts.
AllProScouting.com reports Kevin Williams measured 6047, 304, and ran a 4.97 forty.
Len Pasquarelle of ESPN.com reports: In a year when the defensive tackle position is very deep, one player who hadn't gotten nearly enough attention was Kevin Williams of Oklahoma State, but that is no longer a problem. Not after his performance over the weekend (at combine). Weighing in at 317 pounds, Williams was clocked by some scouts at about 4.85 seconds in the 40-yard dash.  He is a long-armed defender with terrific initial explosiveness and, when he gets his pads down, he can be very disruptive. Since several of the better known tackles are going to go off the board early, Williams' stock is going to rise, and he could get into the first round.
Draft203.com reports, Kevin Williams, Oklahoma State -- Ran 4.85 in the 40... at 6-foot-5, 307 pounds... did 23 reps of 225 pounds... and had a well-built physique for someone that has added roughly 10 pounds since the season ended...
Henderson Len Pasquarelle of ESPN.com reports: E.J. Henderson of Maryland is the consensus top middle linebacker prospect but there are concerns over past injuries, including a bad back from 2001
WORKOUT NUMBERS
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Henderson measured 6-foot-1 1/2, 238 pounds. He ran the 40 in 4.68 with the wind (blowing at approximately 15 mph) and 4.82 against the wind on AstroTurf outdoors. He had a 32 1/2-inch vertical jump and a 9-foot long jump. He was timed at 4.34 in the short shuttle and 7.15 in the three-cone drill.
Burleson Allproscouting.com reports Nate Burleson weighed 197-pounds, ran 4.52-4.54 in the forty, had a 42.5" vertical, and a 10' 5" broad jump at the combine.
Draft2003.com reports, Nate Burleson, Nevada -- Ran 4.47 in the 40... at 6-foot-0, 197 pounds... also had 42.5" vertical... stepped out of the shadow of being just a product of a passing system... those numbers will likely get him drafted late on the first day...
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports, Burleson ran 4.46 on FieldTurf.
O. Smith Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: There is still much of the pre-draft evaluation process to come but scouts feel the tailback position is incredibly weak in the '03 lottery.  One knock on  Oregon's Onterrio Smith is that he is shorter than some teams like.
Len Pasquarelli of ESPN.com reports: if the early indications mean anything (at combine) Onterrio Smith (Oregon)  has helped himself some.
Gil Brandt of NFL.com reported  Onterrio Smith of Oregon measured  5-10, 220 at the combine.
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Matt Gambill of AllProScouting.com reports, Onterrio Smith-RB ran 4.52 and 4.54 in the forty on in an indoor turf.
WORKOUT NUMBERS  Gil Brandt of NFL.com reports,, Smith was finally able to run on April 1 in front of about 15 teams. Figure that he had an average 40 time of 4.55 -- he went as low as 4.52 and as high as 4.58, depending on whose timer you're looking at. He also did this while weighing 215 pounds. Smith added a 33½-inch vertical, a 9-foot-2 long jump, a 4.34 short shuttle and a 7.21 three-cone drill. He also benched 16 times and really looked good catching the ball.
Johnson Len Pasquarelle of ESPN.com reports: Far and away the best punter, several special teams coaches acknowledged, was Idaho State standout Eddie Johnson.
Clark Judge for FoxSports reports at the NFL Combine, Idaho State's Eddie Johnson was considered the best overall puntere because of his abilities to kick off and punt.
Nattiel WORKOUT NUMBERS KFFL.com reports Florida LB Mike Natiel was clocked in at 4.65 in the 40-yard dash during Florida’s Pro Day.
Howry WORKOUT NUMBERS  The Great Blue North (gbnreport.com) reports, Oregon WR Keenan Howry, who doubles as a top return man, ran a 4.50 at the Ducks on-campus workout in Eugene

 

 2002 COLLEGE DRAFT

GRADE : C+


Vikings are better off with OT McKinnie than with Sims anyway.  They have the potential to be a dominate offensive team and McKinnie helps, but are a number of players away on defense.  Smith should challenge Hall for a starting spot.  Offord has potential but are his skills too similar to Tryone Carter's skills?  Brian Williams, listed as a CB,  may be the Viking's answer at free safety assuming they want to play Chavous at corner.  Ta'amu has upside potential but is currently a better run blocker than pass blocker.


Links below take you to NFL.com's report on player, position or college team.

Rd Sel# Player Pos. Ht. Wt. School
1 7 McKinnie, Bryant OT 6-8 343 Miami (Fla.)
2 38 Smith, Raonall OLB 6-2 244 Washington State
3 70 Offord, Willie SS 6-2 215 South Carolina
4 105 Williams, Brian CB 6-0 207 North Carolina State
4 132 Ta'amu, Edward G 6-2 335 Utah
6 177 Rogers, Nick OLB 6-2 251 Georgia Tech
7 218 Beasley, Chad DT 6-5 303 Virginia Tech

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