What We Learned On Saturday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2013 – 5:35 pm

No Vikings officials spoke on Saturday at the 2013 Scouting Combine, but there was still plenty of action to observe. Offensive linemen and tight ends went through their on-field work and most of the defensive linemen and linebackers (and also a few receivers) made an appearance in the media center.

Here’s a few of the storylines that emerged on Saturday…

Te’o talks
The most anticipated press conference of this year’s Combine was that of Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o. He made his appearance on Saturday, and in my six years of coming to this event I’ve never seen more people at a player’s press conference. Te’o handled the spot remarkably well, answering all questions with grace and even finishing his session with a statement of gratitude to all of those who’ve supported him. Impressive display by Te’o.

Ultimately, here’s what I took away from his 14+ minutes of podium time: He’s ready to move past the hoax incident but is also prepared to answer any and all questions about it; the hoax is not an excuse for the way he and his teammates played against Alabama in the national title game; he met with Green Bay and Houston earlier, and has 18 more meetings scheduled before he leaves (typical schedule for a Combine participant); he has not been told the hoax will adversely impact his draft stock.

Some fast big guys
Two offensive linemen – Terron Armstead (Arkansas-Pine Bluff) and Lane Johnson (Oklahoma) broke the previous record for their position in the 40-yard dash. Does it matter how fast an offensive lineman can run 40 yards in a straight line? It might not seem like it, but it is an indication of A) what kind of athleticism a guy has and B) how well he can apply himself to a task (training for the 40-yard dash).

Top TE emerges
Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert had a strong performance on Saturday at the Combine and now may be on his way to solidifying his status as this class’ top TE.

“I think with the tight ends, the day has belonged to Tyler Eifert,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.

Good position
We caught up with Gregg Rosenthal of and he answered some of our questions. Good news – this is a great year to pick 23rd.

Getting tougher
Life is getting tougher in the NFC North, according to NFC North blogger Kevin Seifert.

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Vikings Congratulate Matt Birk On Retirement

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2013 – 5:34 pm

The following is a statement on behalf of the Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings organization and the Wilf family congratulate Matt Birk on his retirement from the NFL after a long and successful fifteen-year career that concluded with a Super Bowl victory this past season. Matt began his 11-year career with the Vikings as a sixth-round pick in 1998 and he earned six Pro Bowl berths along the way while helping the Vikings qualify for the playoffs five times in that span. Matt, a native of St. Paul, was also named Vikings Community Man of the Year six consecutive seasons, and while playing for the Ravens he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year in 2011. Matt has been a great teammate, community member and NFL ambassador throughout his playing career, and he will always be remembered for his hard-nosed play on the field and generous nature off it.

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Notre Dame’s Eifert The Draft’s Top Tight End?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2013 – 4:34 pm

Make no mistake, a NFL prospect’s resume is his game tape. Past on-field performance, medical history and character background reign supreme when trying to evaluate players. But what happens here at the Combine is important, too, otherwise this event wouldn’t be such a big deal.

With that said, Notre Dame’s Tyler Eifert had a strong performance on Saturday at the Combine and now may be on his way to solidifying his status as this class’ top TE.

“I think with the tight ends, the day has belonged to Tyler Eifert,” NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said.

We are prohibited from posting results of Combine testing, so to see specific numbers you’ll have to click here. But Eifert, who measured in at 6-5½, 250 pounds and won the Mackey Award as the nation’s top tight end last season, ran well in the 40-yard dash, posting the 2nd-best time among his position group, and he also ranked 2nd in the high jump, broad jump and 60-yard shuttle. Eifert was 1st in the 3-cone drill and 3rd in the bench press.

It should also be noted that Stanford’s Zach Ertz also had a solid day on Saturday. Last year it was another Stanford TE – Coby Fleener – who was the first TE off the board. Can Ertz match his former teammate and be the first off the board, too? Eifert may make that a tall task.

“If you’re talking about a potential first-round draft pick amongst Eifert, Ertz and (San Diego State’s Gavin) Escobar, I think (Eifert) had the best day from a measurable perspective.”

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Vikings Honored At Fritz Pollard Alliance Awards Reception

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2013 – 4:23 pm

The Fritz Pollard Alliance held its 10th Annual Membership Meeting/Awards Reception on Friday at the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, and two members of the Vikings organization were among those recognized.

Vikings Owner/Chairman Zygi Wilf accepted on behalf of the entire Wilf ownership group the Paul “Tank” Younger Award, while Assistant Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson was named the NFC Scout of the Year. Other individuals honored at the event, which was attended by an impressive roster of NFL luminaries, included: Colts Head Coach Chuck Pagano; Texans National Scout Ed Lambert; Bengals RB Coach Jim Anderson; and Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome.

This is the second time this offseason that members of the Vikings have been honored by the Fritz Pollard Alliance. Frazier and Vice President of Legal Affairs & Chief Administration Officer Kevin Warren were recipients of Fritz Pollard Alliance “Salute To Excellence” awards during Super Bowl week in New Orleans. The Salute to Excellence award recognizes the outstanding performance of minority NFL Head Coaches and Executives, collegiate coaches, and high school seniors during the current season. This recognition is particularly extraordinary as it highlights the tremendous efforts and sacrifices made by current and previous honorees that will lead to even greater opportunities for minorities seeking advancement opportunities.


About the Fritz Pollard Alliance
The FPA was organized for the purposes of promoting diversity and equality of job opportunity in the coaching, front office and scouting staffs of National Football League teams, by means including:
– Providing networking, mentoring and career development opportunities for minority candidates on NFL team staffs.
– Encouraging adoption of rules and practices by the NFL that foster diversity on team staffs.
– Educating NFL team owners and managers regarding the availability of minority candidates for team staff positions.
– Advocating the hiring and promotion of minority candidates in NFL team staff hierarchy through public education and communication with team and league ownership and management.

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Field Day: OL, TEs Set For On-Field Workout Saturday

Posted by Mike Wobschall on February 23, 2013 – 8:13 am

Day 4 of the 2013 Scouting Combine is underway here in Indianapolis. Fans read and hear a lot about all the important Combine action that happens behinds the scenes, but on Saturday we can celebrate the beginning of the Combine action that happens on center stage. Offensive linemen and tight ends hit the field for their on-field workout as they conclude their Combine visit and depart Indianapolis at the end of the day.

A lot more than OL and TE workouts will happen on Saturday, though. Here’s a rundown of Saturday’s player schedule…

OL and TE: On-Field Workout (timing, stations, skill drills), Departure from Indianapolis

QB, WR, RB: Meetings, Psychological Testing, Bench Press, Team Interviews

DL and LBs: Measurements, Medical Examinations, Media Interviews, Team Interviews

DBs: Travel to Indianapolis, Registration, Hospital Pre-Exam & X-rays, Orientation, Team Interviews

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