North WRs Dazzle On Wednesday; Other Practice Notes

Posted by Mike Wobschall on January 23, 2013 – 12:55 pm

I came to Mobile on Monday excited to see North WR Aaron Dobson (Marshall) perform at the Senior Bowl. After Tuesday’s practices, though, I came away from Ladd-Peebles Stadium impressed with what the South WRs showed.

After Wednesday morning’s practice, however, it’s going to be hard for the South receivers group to be the most impressive of the day.

The North WRs, led by Dobson but including several others who stood out, performed well in the morning practice. Dobson and Elon’s Aaron Mellette were at the head of the class, as expected. But I also saw Texas WR Marquise Goodwin and Kansas State WR Chris Harper jump up, too. Here are a few standout plays from this group…

– During one-on-ones, Dobson got off the line on press coverage beautifully using his hands and quick feet to beat Texas S Kenny Vaccaro on a go route. Later in the drill, Washington CB Desmond Trufant tried to get physical with Dobson, but the Marshall playmaker eventually won the battle and uncovered himself for another reception.

– Mellette displayed the same ability to beat press coverage and uncover for a reception when he beat Florida International S Jonathan Cyprien on an intermediate route. Mellette showed his ability downfield as well, sprinting past Nevada DB Duke Williams and Utah State DB Will Davis to haul in a long reception down the right sideline during 11-on-11 work.

– Goodwin was good all day on comeback routes, displaying an ability to drive a defender backwards and then stick his foot in the ground and come back to the QB to uncover. He did exactly this late in the practice, made a diving catch to the outside, and got to his feet in time to sprint past the defense down the sideline. Harper was solid all day, especially in routes over the middle. He actually ended the 11-on-11 period while catching a beautifully thrown pass from Miami (OH) QB Zac Dysert that would’ve resulted in a TD.

What’s the story with LB Arthur Brown, S TJ McDonald?
Kansas State LB Arthur Brown
and USC S TJ McDonald are great looking athletes who appear to be among the better players at their position here in Mobile. But as you watch practice, you just don’t see them making any sensational plays. They seem to make the routine plays routinely, but there hasn’t been much splash to their game.

Perhaps that’s a good thing, though. Brown rarely is out of position and he’s around the ball frequently. McDonald read a draw perfectly during 11-on-11 work Wednesday and in fact was the only defender who did, displaying natural instincts and discipline. Also with McDonald, whether it’s during full team work or 7-on-7 drills, the football is rarely thrown in his direction, which tells me he’s in the right place at the right time quite a bit, forcing the QB to go another direction.

It’ll be interesting to see how the stock of both Brown and McDonald changes in the build-up to the draft. My guess is that both of them see their stars become brighter as the draft approaches.

A couple solid CBs
Speaking of being in the right place at the right time, that’s exactly how I’d describe the performance of a pair of North CBs on Wednesday – Oregon State’s Jordan Poyer and Boise State’s Jamar Taylor. Neither player made any spectacular impression today, but both were often in the right place at the right time, forcing incompletions and forcing ball carriers to alter their path. Taylor’s best play may have come on the first play of 11-on-11 work, when he was in perfect position to shadow a receiver running a deep crossing route after a play-action fake by the QB.

Poyer measures in at just under 6-0 and 182 pounds, while Taylor tips the scale at 192 and measured in at 5-10½. Not great size for their position, but poor size, either.

Barner in the passing game
Oregon RB Kenjon Barner is an intriguing prospect to me. He comes from that up-tempo, high-scoring offensive system that Chip Kelly ran. Those players, historically, didn’t always translate well into the NFL. But as I wrote earlier in the week, the success the San Francisco 49ers have had with LaMichael James makes me think Barner can fulfill a similar role with an NFL team. There’s a big discrepancy in the speed of the game from college to the pros, but Barner has the kind of speed that really marginalizes that speed margin.

Barner has work to do, though. He was not very good going against LBs and DBs in pass protection drills today. He was bull rushed by Washington DB Desmond Trufant early in the drill and then Rutgers LB Steve Beauharnais got the best of him a bit later with a nice outside-to-inside move.

Later in the period, though, when the defenders were charged with covering the backs out of the backfield, Barner impressed. He beat Vaccaro with an inside move easily and then used an outside release to explode past Rutgers LB Khaseem Greene.

North Carolina DT Sylvester “Sly” Williams followed up an absolutely dominant day on Tuesday with another excellent day on Wednesday. He was in the backfield frequently disrupting both QBs and RBs.
— I’ve mentioned Illinois LB Michael Buchanon a couple of times this week. On Tuesday he recovered a fumble and returned it for a TD. And on Monday I included him in the “10 players to watch” entry just because he played LB at Illinois, just as Vikings Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell did. But I’m not sure if Buchanon will be a LB in the NFL. Perhaps he’ll be a DE. Or perhaps a team that employs the 3-4 defense will take him and put him at that pass-rushing outside LB spot. With his size-athleticism combo and ability to flash as a pass rusher off the edge, I think he may be best served rushing the passer more than dropping into coverage as frequently as a LB does.

Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 64 Comments »

64 Responses to “North WRs Dazzle On Wednesday; Other Practice Notes”

  1. By Jeremy on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    If we can’t get first dibs at Corderrelle Patterson we need to take both Aaron Dobson, as well as Aaron Mellette…I also like Jordan Poyer but would rather see a guy like Tyrann Mathieu instead

  2. By Burnem on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Elons WR Aaron Mallete interesting prospect 6-2 and a half and has biggest hands out of all WR’s in Senior Bowl. Looks big and goes up after the ball at the high point could be our 3rd rounder or the pick we have from the Lions in the early 4th round. Could be a good year to trade away a pick for a better 2014 pick also good year for 2nd and 3rd round Corners still dont feel comfortable with the guys we have getting better but Winfield has one more year in him and really can’t stay healthy could help coach up Cook, Robinson and who we select this year. Keep us posted Mike wish I was down there time to goto work

  3. By Jeremy on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    He’s eatin’ Mike W…..put him on Spielman’s radar PLEASE!!! I would rather have this guy than Te’o any day of the week and twice on Sundays….

  4. By Burnem on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Watching Senior Bowl Practice one guy that catches my eyes is DII Brandon Williams Missouri Southen DT He weighs in at 341 this but looks just as good as Kawawn Short and close to Sly Williams. He had over 50 TFL and almost 30 sacks he look like a 4th round sleeper

  5. By Champ Henson on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    92 days until draft day!!

  6. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Mellette looking good. Patton is really looking good Williams looks a little better today. I didn’t think sly looked all that impressive. Trufant and Wreh Wilson looking good.

  7. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I’m going to pass on Jenkins for now. Not dominant enough to take as a first round for someone who is only a 2 down DT.

  8. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Here’s another one for ya…. ha last one…

  9. By jdude on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I know we don’t need a running back right now, but we should really think about getting barner as a third down back. James has done good for the 9ers so why not give this next organ back a shot as well.

  10. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah I’d consider barner as a little speedy guy for us, could do returns too, but only with our 2nd 4th round pick or later on the sole basis that we still need to upgrade our offense.

  11. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Like I have said before about the RB position is that unless a RB is far too great to let slide by then the Vikings should draft a RB no higher than the 5th round.

    I too find Barner to be an intriguing RB that could help the Vikings out but the Vikings will need a bigger back that can take Toby Gerharts spot when he leaves

  12. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Agreed…. defense wouldn’t hurt either if an elite guy in at our spot.

  13. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Barner didn’t look that good in pass protection though, so not sure he would be worth that

  14. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I have like CB Jordan Poyer for a while. I really like his game but I still feel that CB David Amerson would be a better fit in our defensive scheme.

    Our first early 4th round selection should be Tyrann Mathieu…. he would be the perfect under study for Antoine Winfield since their body type and games are so similar. Not too mention his special teams will be valued.

    I have a gut feeling though that Tyrann Mathieu will go in the 3rd round… possibly late 2nd if he has an amazing turnout via Combine, Pro Day, private workouts, meetings, and so on.

  15. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah someone will take a chance early on Mathieu. I like Sanders Commings as a later round CB, great size and has looked pretty good so far.

  16. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    RBs dont always have to be an elite blocker if your a primarily 3rd down passing back since going out in the flat will force a defensive player to go follow him.

    I agree though that in the end he would need to be a decent blocker at least and he would definitely struggle with that at the next level. We are better off finding someone else in the later rounds.

  17. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Ill give you guys one of my favorite late round RBs that can be had in the 5-7th rounds. (Most likely 6-7th round)

    Kerwynn Williams

  18. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    So turns out Norv Turner took an OC job, really disappointed we did not go after him.

  19. By Carl K on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Joseph Randle is a better 3rd down back for the Vikings because he can pick up a blitz in pass protection, plus he has better hands… we can get Joseph later in the draft than Barner.

    Google – Joseph Randle Texas 2012 highlights youtube – and you will see how well Joseph is in pass protection. 3-4th round guy.

    4-6 rd RB to watch is Ray Graham. Both of these guys have hands and speed like a WR.

  20. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Was never going to happen anyways. People also get on Musgrave sooo much for reasons they do not even understand themselves.

    I won’t stand here and claim he is the best OC out there but he really isn’t that bad.

    Get over it… move on.

    Unless he gets fired it is a useless topic to talk about so while he is here cheer him on because to cheer against him is to cheer against the team.

    He is our OC right now….. move on!

  21. By BlueBird7 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Just had to come back on just to note the insanity going on.

    First, questions for not only the Vikings High Brass but for the rest of you.

    We have a huge number of players on the Vikings Player Roster, AND the Reserve/Future list.

    Why are those people here, bought and paid for, IF they are not going to be played/used???

    Why are you all running around like chickens with your heads cut off looking for that ONE MAGIC BULLET that will carry us to the Promise Land?

    Either play and use what we have or go find something else to watch.

  22. By BlueBird7 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    You can only find out if the players are any good by playing them in a actual game! And not setting on the sidelines scratching their ass.

    When these players were picked, they were suppose to be the best out there!

    Let us find out before you go chaseing Rainbows!

  23. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    @Carl K

    Drafting a RB in the 3rd round would be such a big mistake!

    Even 4th round is pushing it!

    If he is a great RB I can reason but I would much rather address positions that need more attention at the moment.

    Joseph Randle is so not worth spending a 3-4 rounder on.

    I do like Ray Graham of Pitt… he is someone I could easily spend 5-7 rounder on… maybe even our second 4th rounder

  24. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Another RB that I would be very pleased with taking in the 6-7th round is…

    Rex Burkhead of Nebraska

    Missed most of this last season because of a leg injury but would be a great late round draft selection.

  25. By GrandDaddyPurp on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


  26. By GrandDaddyPurp on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    If Kenny Vaccaro falls I hope we get him.

  27. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina
    Kniles Davis of Arkansas


    are very good RBs that can be had in the 4th round….

    other than that I would still wait for rounds 5-7 to draft a RB!

    DO NOT DRAFT A RB IN ROUNDS 1-3!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. By Jeremy on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Norseman…..those vids of Campbell are swweeeettttt!!!!!!!!! The guy is a HARD worker and is extremely talented….

    I just hope Spielman takes a look at him….and we draft him before someone else does because somebody will take him just have no clue when…..

    I do like Ray Graham but only if we trade Toby…and even if we do trade him I think we should just concentrate on true #1 receivers and put Harvin in the backfield on third downs..he can run a route or you could hand it off to him..he was a RB at Florida afterall..

    Also I will quit with the Vick comments but you have to admit if he did come he would start over Ponder in a blink of the eye…

  29. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Don’t think we have to worry about drafting a RB period. Spielman is smarter than that.

  30. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Ha I hope so. If it was the right guy i still wouldnt mind taking a RB very deep in the draft.

    As far as Spielman… I am a huge fan of him. I really wanted him to become our GM at the time.

    Ive watched videos and read many articles on him over the years and really respect him. He is exactly what you would want at GM and am so glad we have him.

  31. By Parkway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah the only way I could see justifying it is if we moved Toby for a 4th round and used that on a back

  32. By BlueBird7 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Oh this guy is great! No he isn’t! These people are very good in college.
    Look great showing off for those foxy long legged cheerleaders………..

    How about using the players we have now, you know, the ones with missing teeth
    in front, arms thick with large muscles, looking for a quarterback to crunch.

    WR’s that can dance all day on the field until they get to the NFL.

    Cornerbacks that can stop a little 5’6″150 lb college guy.Looks great huh!

  33. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Haha I dont think you even know what you’re ranting about….

  34. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    That’s too bad about Norv– I would have liked to see him here too.

  35. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Now you’re coming around Norseman– as I have been saying for days, Spielman will take a RB– watch and see.

  36. By rogerthevikefan on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

  37. By rogerthevikefan on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Playing for the South best WR in the draft Quinton Patton.

  38. By rogerthevikefan on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    He only played at LA. Tech for 2 years.

  39. By H.M.G. on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Must be in Purple and Gold next year.
    Wearing no. 80.
    Yes 80!
    Hands maybe even better than C.C.

  40. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    I understand it is your opinion and we will only know for sure until 3 years down the road from now but as it stands right now Quinton Patton is not the best WR in this draft….. he just isn’t.

    With that said…

    I do like Quinton Patton also… he looks like a good player with a good head on his shoulders.

  41. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Oh for sure! I never thought Spielman wouldnt draft a RB this year but I have just been trying to explain that taking a RB in the first 3 rounds would be absolutely absurd.

    If it is not Marcus Lattimore or Kniles Davis in the 4th round than I will only except a RB in rounds 5-7.

    You can get a perfectly fine RB in the later rounds in a draft. Obviously things would be different if the Vikings didn’t have Adrian Peterson but…. we do. So there is no need to spend a top half draft selection on a RB when it’s a position that we are decently set at.

  42. By BlueBird7 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    @Northern Norseman

    I knew you and a few other Know-It-Alls wouldn’t understand anything that doesn’t fit in your closed little minds!

  43. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Spielman will surprise all of you– again. How about Blair Walsh– most of you were moaning and screaming over that choice– turns out the kid is maybe the best and hottest kicker in the league.

  44. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    No I understood what your message was and sort of agree to some extent but it isn’t as simple as your ranting implied.

  45. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Yeah I would be lying if I didn’t say that Spielman has thrown a couple surprises my way when it comes to the draft but I still have a good idea what his intention is.

    As far as Blair Walsh… he was one of my favorite kickers coming out of college. I thought it was so absurd how everyone threw him overboard when he had one rough year after 3 amazing years. I wanted the Vikings to go out and get a K to replace Longwell since you could see that he wasn’t the same.

    So if most were befuddled by the selection than I was among the few that was excited about it.

    I certainly can’t say I was specifically chanting for Blair Walsh during the 6th round but I really liked him going in. Which K would have I drafted if it was my call at the time?…. I don’t know but I am really glad it all turned out.

    Bottom line we can do a lot of speculating but I really do like our entire scouting department as a whole… including Spielman of course. Im excited to see who gets drafted and how it will effect the outlook of our team in the future.

  46. By Shawn on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Who was moaning about Blair Walsh … I was hear for the draft last season and most of us expected a kicker and I had predicted Blair Walsh before the draft.

    Runway … ‘F’

  47. By PurplHaze on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Blair Walsh was the #1 rated kicker in the draft last year. But let’s face it, Spielman definitely struck gold with that pick because Walsh did nothing short of exceed expectations. Blair Walsh will be the Vikings answer at Kicker for many years to come.

  48. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Shawn, are you giving me a grade or stuttering to swear?

  49. By Vikings1 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I really like Quinton Patton also, he had a good game against Texas A&M and Arkansas, would be a good pickup in the later rounds.

  50. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    Oh he wont make it to the later rounds.

    If anything he may go no later than the 2nd round

  51. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I think this Superbowl will be so close, it will go into triple overtime.

  52. By Vikings1 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    @Northern Norseman
    If he is there for us in the 2nd round, I hope we get him, man he has great hands!

  53. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply


    What if it never ends?

    The Superbowl drags on into December….. hahaha do they delay the entire season or call the Superbowl a tie?

  54. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    NN– ha ha ha– that is what I was originally going to post– this Super Bowl will never end, but I thought Ray Lewis might eventually get tired and retire.

  55. By Northern Norseman on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I seriously cannot wait when that day does come WHEN the Vikings win the Super Bowl to rub it all in Packer fans faces.

    Hahaha oh boy will it be glorious!

  56. By Carl K on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I was here too…
    Shawn, I remember you correctly guessed 4 out of our 10 picks.

  57. By vikesny on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    I dont get the toby hating. Good luck finding a rb like him as a #2.
    Dont be surprised if we pay harvin we may move down in the draft, a lot of talent in round 2 and 3, we have extra pucks late, watch us try to move up to round three. If we dont move and we pay harvin look for ot or Og in first rd not too many #1dbs this year.

  58. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    And the way it looks NN, it will not only be soon, but multiple times we win the Superbowl– a dynasty is here.

  59. By Runway on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Green Bay is on the decline.

  60. By BlueBird7 on Jan 23, 2013 | Reply

    Well, OTK2012, You said you were going to change your name…Good FIT.

  61. By VF209 on Jan 24, 2013 | Reply

    I really like TJ McDonald’s size at safety he is a big guy…..and we didn’t really get much out of Mistral this year though Jamarca did step up especially in the running game and also laying the wood after the catch he still is a bit of a liability in the passing game….who knows maybe this McDonald kid could b a steal……and b4 i forget what do you guys think about a guy like Tyrann Mathieu? Obviousely is a “project” but he might slip way down and though he is a bit short at only 5’9″ and obviously has been out of football for a year and has off the field issues with all that said he is an awesome shut down corner and a good returner as well…heard that he is working out with patrick Peterson his former teammate……what do you guys think?

  62. By liito on Jan 25, 2013 | Reply

    However the Vikes address the passing game, it has to be addressed. I do not mind them getting 2 WRs in the draft. Help Adrian, please.

  63. By Megakrab on Jan 25, 2013 | Reply


    I posted a link to an article on Campbell on one of the other blogs. It said that the Packers and Vikings were both scouting him last spring. I’ll find it and post it again if you’d like me too.

  64. By smokinjoe on Jan 26, 2013 | Reply

    Tavon Austin-two Percy Harvins against one defense=points galore

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