Final Senior Bowl Thoughts

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 31, 2012 – 7:21 am

Everyone from the Vikings staff has returned safe and sound from a week-long stay in Mobile, Alabama at this year’s Senior Bowl. All-in-all, it was a successful week for the Vikings. Head Coach Leslie Frazier and his staff had a good week with the North squad that culminated in a 23-13 victory. All the while, the Vikings scouting and personnel staffs were also on-hand to get a close look at some of the nation’s top senior football players.

We had coverage of the Senior Bowl all of last week, and if you missed it I recommend going back through the Blog and through the Media Vault to check it out. Today I’ll provide a few final Senior Bowl thoughts before we move on from the 2012 Senior Bowl and begin focussing on the next phase of the offseason.

Here are a few final thoughts…

– The culture of college football in the Deep South is fun to experience and it’s quite a shift from what I’m accustomed to living here in Minnesota. I’d characterize Minnesota as a state that pays more attention to pro sports than to college sports. That is not the case in Mobile and in most places in that part of the country. They are significantly more passionate about their college sports. There were thousands of fans at the game on Saturday evening, with many of them tailgating before the game. Fans were at the North and South team hotels all week seeking autographs and opportunities to interact with the players. It was a festive, football-loving atmosphere.

– One of my favorite moments included arriving at stadium before the game on Saturday and walking from the bus to the locker room. The whole time, fans lined our path to the locker room and were hoping to grab just a peek at the players. The enthusiasm these fans have for the college game and for the players was awesome to experience. Credit also goes to the Senior Bowl staff for making Saturday evening feel like a regular season or even a postseason football game.

– I think it’s fair to say that the South was a more talented team, which makes the North’s victory all the more impressive. I didn’t watch any of the South’s practices live, but I will say that the North’s practices were well organized and the North’s performance on Saturday evening reflected that. I thought the Vikings coaching staff worked hard all week, took the job seriously, and ultimately took big-time advantage of their opportunity to be around these players all week to see how they’re wired and what makes them tick.

– While I was exposed to the North team for most of the week, I must say that I couldn’t have come away from the week more impressed with South DE Quinton Coples, who is a product of the University of North Carolina. This kid already has an NFL-looking body, measuring in at 6-6, 281 pounds, and he plays angry and hard on every snap. Maybe he’s not a candidate for the Vikings if they keep the 3rd overall pick, but if a scenario unfolds where the Vikings trade back to the middle of the 1st round or even in the later part of the Top 10, I would not be disappointed if Coples was the pick. He has the look of a real game-changer at the NFL level. We’ll have to wait and see how he tests out at the Combine, but right now I’m saying Coples will be one of the best players in this year’s draft class.

– The most impressive players all week for the North, in my view, were DE Cam Johnson from Virginia, WR Brian Quick from Appalachian State, LB Bobby Wagner from Utah State and QB Russell Wilson from Wisconsin. I also thought that kicker Carson Wiggs from Purdue was impressive all week and during the game.

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