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WR Patterson A Good Fit For Vikings?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 22, 2013 – 2:04 pm

The headline to this blog entry will open a lot of Vikings fans’ eyes. Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson is currently viewed by many as the top WR prospectin the 2013 NFL Draft. Whether he truly is the top prospect or whether he actually is the first WR taken is a debate for another day.

For the time being, check out the 5 teams NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks identifies as potential landing spots for the super-athletic Patterson. Hint: the Vikings are one of them. But if you’re a huge Patterson-to-the-Vikings hopeful, you’re not going to like where the Vikings rank among the 5 teams. Because they hold the 23rd overall pick in the 1st round, the Vikings are last on this list. The top team (Miami) picks 12th overall and another team (St. Louis) has two 1st-round picks (#16 and #22) before the Vikings have their 1st-round choice.

If you want some alternatives at WR should the Vikings go that way in the 1st round, check out what NFL Network’s Mike Mayock had to say while appearing on Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen’s 9-noon radio show on KFAN. Also, check out our Senior Bowl coverage from a couple weeks ago, as we identified a talented crop of WRs down in Mobile.


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Out Of Character: Offensive Linemen Generating Buzz At Combine

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 22, 2013 – 11:38 am

Offensive linemen do the dirty work – they battle in the trenches and pave the way for flashy playmakers to score touchdowns and make the highlight reel. But this year’s crop of offensive linemen at the Combine are having an out-of-character experience, at least for the moment. Granted they have been here the longest and are the furthest along in the Combine schedule, but even compared to last year this crop of offensive linemen are generating plenty of interest.

What does that mean for the Vikings? One could argue that it doesn’t mean much right now because the Vikings aren’t though to be a team looking to tab an offensive linemen with their 1st round pick (#23 overall). Keep in mind, though, that GM Rick Spielman is a stickler when it comes to finding value and disregarding positions of need. Look no further than 2011, when he scooped up TE Kyle Rudolph in the 2nd round at a time when Jim Kleinsasser and Visanthe Shiancoe already had spots locked down on the roster for the next season. Spielman couldn’t pass by an opportunity to take the best player at his position with a 2nd-round pick.

I’m not suggesting offensive line is where the Vikings will go at #23 or at any other point in the draft. Nor am I suggesting offensive line is a position of need for the Vikings – hopefully we’ll have all 5 of our starters back from 2012. But you can never have too many good players in a position group that calls for 5 starters.

Here are a few notes from the Combine regarding offensive linemen…

– NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock has given high praise to Alabama OG Chance Warmack, even suggesting he might be the best prospect in the entire draft. Now, you aren’t going to see many teams willing to draft an interior linemen with the top pick. But the top prospect is the top prospect. Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com noted that Warmack measured in at 6-2, 317 pounds, and that of the 9 interior linemen drafted in the 1st round over the last 5 drafts, Warmack would be the smallest. Jeremiah also noted, though, that Warmack’s arms were measured at 34¾ inches and that many scouts’ concerns were alleviated after that. I’m not sure how true that is, but it’s interesting to get a glimpse into all the different aspects of a players ability are measured.

– Another former Alabama offensive lineman was also the subject of some buzz over the past couple of days. OT DJ Fluker weighed in at 339 pounds, which is actually lighter than many expected. Fluker was at the Senior Bowl a couple of weeks ago, and if the feedback he got from teams was that he needed to reduce his weight, than Fluker will get a lot of credit from teams at the Combine because he did just that.

– Azusa Pacific OT Luke Marquardt measured in at 6-foot-8½ and 315 pounds. Wow, that’s huge. Furthermore, he has 34½ arms. He may have played at a small school and he may be raw, but those measurables will have some scouts and coaches excited to get their hands on him. Others will feel the opposite and will dock him for not fitting the ideal position specifics. We won’t know who is right until a year or more down the line.

– Oklahoma OT Lane Johnson was a QB, TE and DE in college before moving to OT. He’s been timed in the 4.7s in the 40-yard dash at times. It will be interesting to see how he times in the 40-yard dash and other drills here at the Combine. He’s an intriguing prospect.

– Here’s what Jeremiah wrote about another dynamic OL prospect – Florida State OT Menelik Watson: “Watson is another player with a unique sporting background. He grew up as a basketball player in England before attending Marist College in New York to play hoops. He has also has a boxing background and actually spent time working out with Oscar De La Hoya’s trainer. He is a raw football player but a freaky athlete. He should break 5.0 in the 40 at 6-6 and more than 300 pounds.”

– Oh, and by the way, many are projecting that the first overall pick in the draft will be an offensive linemen – Texas A&M’s Luke Joeckel. My submission that OL are generating buzz at the Combine is perhaps best illustrated by the fact that a mention of Joeckel doesn’t come until the last line of the blog entry.


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Friday’s Combine Schedule

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 22, 2013 – 8:03 am

Here’s a quick rundown of a few things to watch for today at the Combine…

Players – Offensive linemen, place kickers, special teams players and tight ends enter Day 3 of the Combine schedule, which includes: an NFLPA Meeting; Psychological Testing, PK/ST on-field workout; Bench Press; Interviews. Quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers are in Day 2 of the Combine schedule and will have Measurememnts, Medical Examinations, Media Obligations and Team Interviews. The arrivals today are DL and LBs. They’ll go through Registration, Hospital Pre-Exam and X-rays, Orientation, and Interviews.

Vikings Personnel – Head Coach Leslie Frazier will head to the media center this moring, just as Rick Spielman did on Thursday. He’ll swing by the KFAN broadcast booth to chat with Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen during his radio show. PA will be joined by Charch again today as they do their final show from radio row inside Lucas Oil Stadium. – Frazier will also have his press conference here at the Combine and will appear at the podium – we’ll pass the time along via Twitter when we know for sure he’ll be at the podium.

I will also join PA and Charch on-air today.

Combine Coverage – Once again, you won’t see wall-to-wall daily Combine coverage on NFL Network or ESPN until Saturday most likely, but you will see that type of coverage right here on vikings.com. So be sure to check back with us regularly to catch interviews of players, our coaches and personnel executives, yours truly, PA and Charch, and several other well-known national NFL media members. – Be sure to follow us on Twitter for even more updates. You can follow the Vikings (@Vikings) and me (@wobby) for those updates.


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Highlights From Spielman’s Media Availability

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 22, 2013 – 7:02 am

Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman spent some time in the media center on Thursday at the 2013 Scouting Combine, and in so doing was asked to address a variety of topics. We have his press conference available in on-demand format and we’ve also posted our one-on-one interview with Spielman. In addition, Spielman spent some time with Voice of the Vikings Radio Network Paul Allen during his radio show, which he’s hosting along with Paul Charchian from here in Indianapolis.

But I thought I’d share a few of his quotes that stood out to me during his time in the media center…

Draft is deep, maybe not splashy
The overwhelming majority of people I’ve spoken with here at the Combine are characterizing this year’s draft class as being deep with talent. At the same time, people are acknowledging that there aren’t the splashy types of playmakers in this draft, either. There are no obvious top picks like an Andrew Luck or Robert Griffin III from last year. It’s not obvious who the top receiver is, like it was with Justin Blackmon last year.

“From a personnel standpoint and a football standpoint, to me it’s a very deep draft,” Spielman said. “There are a lot of guys who don’t get the recognition, but can make a huge impact on your roster. They’re just not a splash positions.”

This is good news for the Vikings, and bad news for teams who happen to have higher picks.

“I think we’re going to get an excellent football player at 23, if we’re there,” Spielman said. “I think through the first four rounds, to have that extra fourth-round pick this year, will be valuable as well. I think the depth of this draft class…you’re going to get some pretty significant players that can help you win ballgames.”

The other part of the Combine
We’re all here in Indianapolis for the Scouting Combine as all 32 teams continue their evaluations of this year’s draft class. But much more than draft evaluation happens here in Indianapolis during the Combine. This is the time and place where teams and agents get together to discuss the futures of their players.

It all combines for an exciting time, and a period of the year that Spielman enjoys.

“We’ll start meeting with some of our own UFA (unrestricted free agent) agents, and then that process  will continue over the next three or four days,” Spielman said. “I’m anxious to get started on the (Combine) workouts, and we start our formal interviews tonight (Thursday), so it’s an exciting time.”

Spielman said not to expect any big news for the Vikings at this point because he anticipates many players set to be free agents to test their potential market before deciding to sign.

“I don’t know if anything will specifically get done immediately just because a lot of times those deals don’t get done until the eleventh hour,” Spielman explained. “I’m anticipating some of the guys waiting until they can actually start negotiating with other teams in that three-day window (March 9) to get a true gauge of what their value is or what they see as the potential market for that player. So it’ll be a lot of dancing and getting to know each other from that standpoint, and we’ll see how it progresses.”

Are you a DE or an OLB?
One of the trickiest player evaluations to make centers around defenders who fit a hybrid DE/OLB mold. A current NFL player who fit this profile is Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware. He may look more like a DE, but in Dallas’ old 3-4 scheme (they’ve switched to a 4-3 this offseason) he actually played standing up as an outside LB would.

“The biggest thing I think between the 3-4 and the 4-3 teams are those hybrid outside linebackers,” Spielman said. “Are they designated pass rushers? Are they big enough to hold up and play as a right or left defensive end in a 4-3 scheme? Can they potentially be strong-side linebackers for you? Can they play from a stacked position? There are players who are very good athletes who are coming out in this draft, and we’ll have a lot of discussions on those hybrid types. Can they fit what we do?”

Greg Childs update
Spielman was asked if he thought Adrian Peterson’s ability and determination to comeback from his knee injury would serve as inspiration for Greg Childs as he tries to come back from a knee injury as well. While Spielman did acknowledge that Childs could learn a lot from Peterson’s mindset, he also noted that Childs is determined in his own right to make it back to the field.

“Greg is a very driven individual and wants to do well and show people he can be good,” Spielman said. “He’s attacked his rehab that way. He’s one of those guys that fit our profile – guys that love ball, have passion for the game. He’s shown that so far through his rehab.”


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