Blogs

Stadium-Exclusive Question/Answer Feature Debuts Next Week

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 28, 2011 – 2:28 pm

We take a break from our 2011 Scouting Combine coverage to introduce and promote a new feature we’re going to have on vikings.com beginning this week. It’s a stadium-exclusive Q&A that will keep Vikings fans informed on the latest developments.

The stadium issue is one that’s been top of mind for the Vikings and their fans over the last several years and right now there’s a growing sense that progress is being made. Positive momentum has been building, but that doesn’t mean we should begin to care less. Now is the time to get informed and get active in the discussion.

Beginning this Wednesday and continuing throughout this Legislative session, vikings.com will provide an exclusive stadium Q&A feature that will allow Vikings fans to submit questions. Each week we’ll select questions and both Vikings VP of Public Affairs Lester Bagley and Vikings Assistant Director of Public Afffairs Jeff Anderson will answer those questions. This will be a great way to stay involved and stay informed in this discussion.

So, to submit a question for this new feature, you can do one of two things:

1) email your question to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. In this option, be sure to put STADIUM QUESTION in the subject line of the email so I know your inquiry is stadium-related and can be shuffled to Bagley/Anderson.

2) submit your question to the comments section below this entry.

Remember to include your name and town.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 56 Comments »

5 Names Added To The QB Collection

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 28, 2011 – 8:55 am

The QB Collection began 2 weeks ago with 5 names of potential starting QBs for the Vikings in 2011 (and hopefully beyond) and has since grown to a list of 21 names. The latest update added 5 names to the mix and the complete list can be seen by clicking here.

The names added to the list on Monday were: Pat Devlin, Matt Hasselbeck, Shaun Hill, Brady Quinn and Adam Weber.

For those of you who are visiting the QB Collection for the first time, here’s a brief explanation of what we’re doing here. There are many names that will be mentioned in connection with the Vikings QB position this offseason, from draft-eligible players to potential free agents or trade acquisitions. In order to keep up with the speculation and stay up-to-date on the names, we’ve created The QB Collection, a page on vikings.com that contains a running list of names tied to the Vikings by NFL observers in the media and by fans who correspond with vikings.com.

The QBs will be listed in alphabetical order and this list will continue to grow as the NFL draft draws closer.

Do you have a name you’d like to add? Or do you have a comment/question about a name already on the list? If so, let us hear it by either posting your thoughts in the comments section below this entry or by sending in an email to me (wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net).


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 48 Comments »

Schedule For Day 5 Of Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 28, 2011 – 6:56 am

We’re back in Minnesota, but the show in Indianapolis will go on. It’s Day 5 of the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine today as the defensive players take center stage at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here’s a quick schedule of events for the day…

– Groups 1-6 have departed Indianapolis.

– Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL) and Group 9 (LBs) will be on the field going through timing stations and skill drills. This is basically what you see on TV when you turn on NFL Network during the Combine. After their workouts, these groups will depart Indianapolis.

–  Group 10 (DBs) and Group 11 (DBs) have an NFLPA meeting, psychological testing and interviews with teams. Tomorrow they’ll be on the field and then will depart Indianapolis.

We’re no longer live at the Combine, but our coverage of the event will continue through Tuesday. You can also go back and check out all of the great content we posted to vikings.com over the past several days by visiting the vikings.com Combine Central page.


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Recapping Day 4 Of Combine Action

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 27, 2011 – 3:47 pm

I’m sitting at gate A10 of the Indianapolis International Airport waiting to board my flight home and thought now is a good time to recap the exciting action of Day 4 at the Combine. Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave and WRs coach George Stewart are sitting near me as well just hours after watching QBs, RBs and WRs take the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Let’s go over what they saw from the drafts offensive skill position players…

– Cam Newton is this draft class’ highest-profile player in the highest-profile football position and it looks like he’ll come away from the Combine with mixed results. He ran the 40-yard dash in 4.59 seconds, which is tied for 3rd best among QBs with Jake Locker, but he was most impressive in the broad jump, where he registered a 10-foot, 6-inch effort. His throwing performance was apparently less impressive as he struggled at times with accuracy. As we noted earlier, though, that’s to be expected with a lot of QBs because of the unfamiliarity that exists between QBs and WRs at the Combine.

Overall, my opinion of Cam Newton as an NFL prospect hasn’t changed much since I arrived here in Indianapolis. From a physical ability standpoint and from a physique standpoint, he’s as gifted a prospect as I’ve come across. But we already knew that. His performance with the media, in throwing drills and reportedly in front of NFL teams had mixed results, which I already had a hunch would happen. So what I thought were strengths of his coming into the Combine were confirmed, but what I thought his weaknesses were coming into the Combine were also confirmed. For now, I’ll reserve judgment on him. But I’ll also say that I can already tell that at least one team in the top 10 will fall in love with him and make him their pick.

– Before we get to the other QBs who were on the field Sunday, let’s briefly touch on the WR position. The top 2 prospects at this position coming into the Combine were A.J. Green and Julio Jones, in that order. And coming out of the Combine, those 2 remain at the top of the heap. But I’m not so sure it’s a cinch that Green is ahead of Jones. I’ll leave it up to the experts to tell you which one looked better in terms of pass catching and route running, but in terms of straight-line speed Jones was significantly better. He ran a 4.39 in the 40-yard dash while Green registered a 4.5 time. And Jones registered a 38.5-inch vertical leap, while I don’t see Green’s result in that category, which means he’s either out of the top 15 at the WR position or he didn’t participate in that event.

At this point, I like Jones a bit better than Green. Although Jones is an inch shorter and I like tall receivers, Jones is also 9 pounds heavier and he tested better in: straight-line speed, leaping ability and the broad jump. In fact, Jones recorded the best broad jump number of the WR group (11 feet, 3 inches).

Here are more results from Sunday’s WR drills.

– Going back to the QB position, I want to talk about 3 more guys. The first is Ryan Mallet, who came off terribly while meeting with the media on Saturday. But for as terrible as he performed in front of the media on Saturday, it sounds like he was every bit as great on the field in front of coaches and scouts on Sunday. Reports are that his accuracy was the best seen at the Combine since earlier in the decade and we all know already that he has a strong arm.

The second name is Jake Locker. As I sit here in the airport immediately after my Combine experience, Locker is my favorite of the QBs in this year’s class. I think he’s a winner with good leadership qualities. I also like that he posted an impressive time in the 40-yard dash (4.52 seconds). It’s also been noted elsewhere that he looked good in terms of accuracy, and accuracy is the #1 knock on him coming out of college.

The third and last QB name we’ll mention for now is former Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor. He’s not the type of QB that I typically gravitate toward and I guess I’m not saying that I endorse him now as an option for the Vikings, but there’s something about how he performs both in games and in a Combine-type of environment that I love. He ran a 4.51-second time in the 40-yard dash – tops among all QBs – and I like his throwing style. He was a great competitor at Virginia Tech, too.

Here are more results from the 40-yard dash for QBs.

– We’re not going to address RBs in this post but I promise we’ll discuss them later, maybe early this week.

That’s it for now from Indianapolis. I’m going to find some food before I board the plane that will bring me back home after another great experience at the NFL Scouting Combine.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 84 Comments »

A Mechanical Matter

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 27, 2011 – 10:11 am

Sunday’s Combine action will have the QBs, RBs and WRs going through timing stations and position-specific drills on the field at Lucas Oil Stadium. I’m sure this represents one of the most popular days of coverage for NFL Network because so many fans like to tune in and watch the QBs work with the WRs.

But as you’re watching/following the Combine and the QB/WR workouts, keep in mind that NFL coaches and scouts are more concerned with the minutia of the drills as opposed to whether or not the QB completes the pass or the WR comes down with an acrobatic catch. Don’t get me wrong, the coaches and scouts value accuracy and sure hands. But the mechanics are what the trained eyes are focusing on today.

The reason for this is simple. The passing game relies on timing and familiarity because many of the routes are intricate and many receivers prefer certain passes be thrown in certain areas. At the Combine, there’s no way for the QBs and WRs to deveop a rapport with each other where they are on the same page.

So as you watch Cam Newton throw a comeback route to A.J. Green or Jake Locker throw a crossing pattern to Julio Jones, pay more attention to how the WR comes out of his break and how efficiently the QB dropped back from under center as opposed to whether or not the pass was completed.

Just some food for thought on a lazy Sunday of Combine watching.


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Day 4 Schedule At NFL Scouting Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 27, 2011 – 7:42 am

– vikings.com Videographer Jordan Struck and I will focus on defensive linemen today in the media center. We will put together package of interviews with the players and post that to vikings.com this afternoon.

It’s Day 4 of the Combine and it’s also the last day vikings.com will be live in Indianapolis. Let’s begin by going through today’s schedule…

– Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL) and Group 3 (TEs) departed Indianapolis yesterday.

– Group 4 (QBs, WRs), Group 5 (QBs, WRs) and Group 6 (RBs) will be on the field going through timing stations and skill drills. This is basically what you see on TV when you turn on NFL Network during the Combine.

– Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL) and Group 9 (LBs) have an NFLPA meeting, psychological testing and interviews with teams.

– Group 10 (DBs) and Group 11 (DBs) will go through measurements, medical exams, a media session, psychological testing and interviews with teams.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 3 Comments »

Submit Your Monday Morning Mailbag Questions

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2011 – 4:02 pm

The NFL Scouting Combine is in full flux, the Collective Bargaining Agreement issue still lingers and the Vikings have a roster to build and improve this offseason. With all of that going on, I bet you have questions.

If so, you’ve come to the right place because the Monday Morning Mailbag has answers.

To submit a comment or question to the mailbag, send an email to me at wobschallm@vikings.nfl.net. You can also submit your comment or question in the comments section below this entry.

Remember to include your name and town on the email. We can’t post every comment and question, but we’ll try to answer each question.


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 46 Comments »

Cameron Jordan At The Mic

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2011 – 12:02 pm

If there was an award given out at the Scouting Combine for most entertaining interview, former Cal DE Cameron Jordan would win it hands down. He entered the media center at Lucas Oil Stadium on Saturday afternoon and by the time he left, everyone gathered around his podium was either shaking their head with amusement, laughing or both.

Cameron is the son of former Vikings TE Steve Jordan, the best TE in franchise history. So of course he gets a bunch of questions about being the son of a former NFL player and about potentially playing for the same team as his dad. As redundant as that must get, Cameron answers them all well and also with some humor.

“My dad was always trying to give me tips on how to be a tight end because that’s what he played,” Jordan said on Saturday. “He was just always giving me tips on how to beat a guy or control a guy and he’d give any tip that he can. I may listen to about 45 percent of it, but you know he gives me a lot of advice so I take it for what it is.”

With a big smile on his face following that answer, Jordan answered another question about what happens to the other 55% of the advice.

“He is my father, so I listen to most of the things he says but, yeah, 55 percent does slip through the ear and go out the other. He’d probably tell you the same thing.”

But that’s not all. Clearly a loquacious and happy-go-lucky type while off the field, Jordan was asked if he’s able to turn that off once he is on the field.

“If you see my film, I’m hitting people, I’m laying people out, and actually it’s sort of a switch because I still have the smile on but it’s for a different motive,” Jordan said. “It put the biggest smile on me to hit a quarterback and hear the wind come out of his chest. That puts my smile on me…when I hit a running back, you know, a running back could be 220 (pounds), he doesn’t have too much of a chance, so when I lay him out I put up a smile because I tell him I’m coming back next time, I’ll be there soon.”

As for Jordan on the field, he stands at 6-4 and weighs in at 287 pounds, which could make him a good fit in either a 3-4 scheme or the Vikings 4-3 alignment. He says he played all along the defensive line at Cal and feel comfortable playing anywhere.

“Initially when I came out I thought I would go to a 3-4 team,” Jordan explained. “But now I’ve played in a 4-3, I feel comfortable playing in a 4-3. I feel comfortable playing in a 3-4, two-gap situation and one-gap situation.

“I love to play football anywhere.”


Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 28 Comments »

Offensive Linemen – Doing The Splits

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2011 – 9:20 am

I spent a part of the early morning here on Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine watching the offensive linemen run the 40-yard dash and a couple of thoughts crossed my mind…

– The 40-yard dash is a standard test at the Combine and obviously its purpose is to help gauge an individuals straight away and high end speed. But when you think about it, there might not be any other position where straight line speed at a length of 40 yards means less than offensive line. When do you ever see an offensive linemen run 40 yards in a straight line? About the only time you see that is when Adrian Peterson is breaking away on a long TD run and the line is chasing him down the field to celebrate in the endzone.

But even given that, there is a practical reason for the coaches and scouts to time the offensive linemen in the 40-yard dash. It’s called the splits. There are stations set up at the 10-yard marker and the 20-yard marker of the 40-yard dash, and the purpose of those stations is to time each player to gauge quickness and speed in a smaller area. This is much more practical in assessing offensive linemen.

– On Friday the offensive linemen and TEs did the bench press. Syracuse C Ryan Bartholomew topped all lineman with 34 reps of the 225-pound bench press. For TEs, Michigan State’s Charlie Gantt and Tennessee’s Luke Stocker both recorded 27 reps.

UPDATE: Bartholomew continues to impress today by registering the top 40-yard dash time so far at 4.89 seconds.


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Schedule For Day 3 Of The Scouting Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 26, 2011 – 8:46 am

We are locked and loaded for Day 3 of the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine, where the action will go full-throttle on the field and here at the media center. Let’s go over what we can expect to see today…

– vikings.com Videographer Jordan Struck and I will focus on defensive linemen today in the media center. We will put together package of interviews with the players and post that to vikings.com this afternoon.

– Group 1 (PK, ST, OL), Group 2 (OL) and Group 3 (TEs) will be on the field going through timing stations and skill drills. This is basically what you see on TV when you turn on NFL Network during the Combine.

– Group 4 (QBs, WRs), Group 5 (QBs, WRs) and Group 6 (RBs) have an NFLPA meeting, psychological testing and interviews with teams.

– Group 7 (DL), Group 8 (DL) and Group 9 (LBs) will go through measurements, medical exams, a media session, psychological testing and interviews with teams.

– Group 10 (DBs) and Group 11 (DBs) will arrive in Indianapolis today and go through the orientation and registration processes.


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