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Talkin’ Trade – Two Possible Scenarios For The Vikings

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 10, 2013 – 11:03 am

Last year at about this time we began discussing the prospects of a trade market emerging for the Vikings 1st-round pick (#3 overall). As it turned out, the Vikings consummated a draft-day trade with the Cleveland Browns that moved them back one spot to #4 overall and also netted them three additional selections (4th, 5th, 7th rounds).

While the Vikings don’t hold such a high-value pick this year, they do possess a pair of 1st-round selections (#23 and #25 overall). This gives them flexibility. They can use one of those two selections in a trade back to accumulate more selections and still come away with one 1st-rounder. They can use one (or both) of them in a trade up to grab a player they covet who may not be available when they go on the clock. Or they can stay put and use both selections to add a pair of talented players to the roster. This flexibility is good for the Vikings because it will allow them to consider multiple options in an attempt to improve the roster.

For the purposes of this blog entry, though, let’s focus on the aspect of this flexibility that could create a robust trade market for one or both of those 1st-round picks. Whether or not the Vikings end up agreeing to a trade in the 1st round remains to be seen, but in the mean time we can start discussing potential opportunities that could arise for the Vikings.

The primary focus for now will be on players who could be available at #23 and #25 and who would generate trade interest from teams slated to select after the Vikings. Here are two possible scenarios…

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Scenario #1 – Eddie Lacy
The trade the Vikings made in the 1st round last year was predicated on Cleveland’s interest in the draft’s top RB – Trent Richardson. Our first scenario for a trade this year is similar - perhaps the Vikings will be presented with an option to trade back once again by a team looking to grab the draft’s top runner.

Lacy will likely be the top RB on teams’ draft boards (although North Carolina’s Giovani Bernard has the highest grade in NFL.com’s rankings). If a mock draft has Lacy going in the 1st round, it’s typically to either St. Louis at #22 or Green Bay at #26. A trade back for the Vikings involving a team that covets Lacy, then, likely wouldn’t occur until after St. Louis’ pick at #22 – if the Rams pass on Lacy, then a team looking to tag Lacy will feel compelled to move up to #25 to jump the Packers at #26. One possible team to look at in this scenario is the Denver Broncos at #28.

BE THE GENERAL MANAGER: If you were the Vikings GM, would you trade the #25 pick to the Broncos for the #28 pick and a 4th-rounder this year?

Scenario #2 – QB de jour
Our second and final scenario for today would likely involve the Vikings second 1st-round pick (#25 overall) and a team from the early part of the 2nd round looking to move up into the latter part of the 1st round to satisfy their desire to draft one of the class’ remaining top QBs. Why would a QB-needy team sitting in the early part of the 2nd round feel compelled to trade up into the end of the 1st round where a bunch of playoff teams from last year reside and where, consequently, a bunch of teams with resolved QB situations reside? A team may do this because they want to go to bed on Thursday night at the conclusion of the 1st round knowing that their QB problem has been addressed, and knowing that some other team with a similar need isn’t going to work out a deal overnight to leapfrog them in the early part of the 2nd round to grab the QB they want.

It’s hard to gauge at this point which QBs will still be on the board when the Vikings are on the clock at #25. For the purposes of this discussion, let’s say only Geno Smith is gone. That leaves Ryan Nassib, Matt Barkley and EJ Manuel for teams in the first part of the 2nd round. With a new head coach running the show, might the Philadelphia Eagles choose to trade the 3rd pick of the 2nd round (#35 overall) to move up into the Vikings spot? How about the Arizona Cardinals with the 6th choice of the round (#38 overall)? Or the NY Jets with the 8th pick of the 2nd round (#39 overall)? Buffalo with the 10th pick (#41 overall)? The Vikings could receive an attractive package of picks from one of these teams for the drawback of dropping a mere 10-15 spots (after having already netted a 1st-rounder at #23 overall).

BE THE GENERAL MANAGER: If you were the Vikings GM, would you trade the #25 pick and one of your 6th-rounders to the Jets for the #39 pick and their 3rd-round pick (#72 overall)?


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Draft Preview: Corralling The Cornerbacks

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 10, 2013 – 6:00 am

Previous Draft Previews
Sorting out the inside LBs
Rounding up the receivers

There isn’t a team in the NFL who wouldn’t consider adding talent and depth to their current crop of cornerbacks. But when you play in a division that features the likes of Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford chucking the rock on 59.6% (1907 of 3201 of their teams’ snaps) of the time, talent and depth at cornerback takes on an enhanced importance.

The best time of the offseason to address the CB position – the NFL draft – will be here in a matter of weeks, so now is a good time to assess this year’s crop of talent. To maintain some sense of credible order, we’ll group the CB prospects according to the grade NFL.com has given them and include the top 15 graded players. As we did with the receivers, we’ll leave comments next to some but not all of the prospects.

Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comment section below this entry or by emailing them for inclusion in a future Monday Morning Mailbag or Pick 6.

Top of the Class

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Dee Milliner (Alabama) – The consensus top choice and a cinch to go in the Top 10.

Xavier Rhodes (Florida State) – At 6-1, 210 pounds and with his physical style of play, Rhodes will be valued significantly higher by teams who run schemes that demand such a profile from their cornerbacks (think: Jacksonville, Seattle)

Jamar Taylor (Boise State)
Johnthan Banks (Mississippi State)

Desmond Trufant (Washington) – A standout during the two practices I watched at the Senior Bowl, Trufant has the athleticism/size combo to be a starter as a rookie in the NFL. His NFL.com scouting report says he has the skill set to play either outside or nickel CB, which I like in terms of his potential to be a good fit for the Vikings. With some coaching to fine-tune some mechanical issues, Trufant could be one of the better immediate-impact CB prospects in this year’s class.

Ready to contribute
Robert Alford (Southeast Louisiana) and Leon McFadden (San Diego State) – NFL.com grades them about equally, and that’s convenient for me because both of these cornerbacks caught my eye during our Senior Bowl coverage this past February. They’re essentially the same size and they both come from lower-profile schools, but I think they could both make an impact with their teams as rookies. Their scouting reports are very similar – good in coverage (especially zone), good ball skills, fluid athletes, need to improve vs. the run.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson (UCONN) – Mike Mayock’s 5th-rated CB in the entire class.

David Amerson (NC State)
Jordan Poyer (Oregon State)

Also on the radar
BW Webb (William & Mary) – Solid performer at this year’s Senior Bowl practices.

Tyrann Mathieu (LSU) – I would rate him higher. His size is nowhere near ideal, but haven’t we learned by now that “he’s too small” should only go so far? The guy is instinctual, he plays with aggressiveness and passion, and he has a lot to prove.

Will Davis (Utah State)

Darius Slay (Mississippi State) – His teammate at Mississippi State – Johnthan Banks – is the higher-rated prospect, but maybe Slay will be the better player. He has good size at 6-0, 192 pounds with long arms, and his NFL.com scouting report credits him for having good hands and being willing to get physical with receivers and in the run game. If you don’t get a cornerback in the 1st or 2nd round, maybe this is a guy you can grab in the 3rd or 4th round and get a steal in doing so.

Tharold Simon (LSU) – How many pro prospects does LSU’s defense have? Add Simon to the long list. He has great size (6-2, 202 pounds with 32¾ inch arms) and had great production at LSU with 22 pass break ups and 7 INTs in 3 seasons.


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Henderson “Causes An Uproar” For National Geographic

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 9, 2013 – 8:26 am

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The Vikings organization prides itself on building a roster of players that contribute off the field as much or more than they do on the field. One of the team’s most community-conscious players found a creative way to blend those two endeavors.

Prior to the 2012 season, Erin Henderson committed to making a monetary donation to National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI) for every sack he recorded. The fun-loving linebacker called his initiative “Sacks for Cats” and set a goal of raising awareness about the decline of lions, tigers,  cheetahs and other big cat species in the wild.

Last week Henderson visited National Geographic’s Washington, D.C., headquarters with his family to present a $5,000 check to National Geographic’s Big Cats Initiative (BCI).

“The numbers (of big cats remaining in the wild) are frightening,” said Henderson. “When my two-year-old son is older, I don’t want to talk to him about lions the way we now talk about dinosaurs.  It is important for all of us to do something now, before it is too late.”

Enjoy a photo gallery from the Henderson family’s visit to National Geographic Headquarters, and go here for more information on the BCI.

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Draft Preview: Rounding Up The Receivers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 9, 2013 – 5:59 am

Other Draft Previews
Sorting out the inside LBs

Of the 8 mock drafts highlighted in last week’s Mock Madness, 7 of the analysts projected the Vikings to use one of their two 1st-round selections on a wide receiver. Of the 8 analysts with mock drafts at NFL.com’s Mock Draft Central, 6 have the Vikings taking a receiver in the 1st round and one of the analysts predicts the Vikings will choose a receiver with both of their 1st-round selections.

With all this talk of the Vikings taking a receiver early in the draft and with how deep the WR group is in this year’s class, it’s time for us to examine this talented crew of playmakers. We’ll break the entire group of draft-eligible receivers into our own preferred tiers (alphabetical within each tier), and I’ll provide a comment from time-to-time on several of the individuals.

We want you to get in on the action, too. Let us know what you think by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry or emailing them to me for possible inclusion in an upcoming Pick 6 or Monday Morning Mailbag.

Blue-Chippers

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Tavon Austin (West Virginia) – If you can get over the “undersized” tag (5-8, 174-pounds), Austin may be this drafts most versatile playmaker. He scored 40 total TDs in college as a receiver, runner and returner.

Keenan Allen (California) – Didn’t have elite college production, doesn’t have elite measureables and dealt with injuries at Cal, but has the frame, raw ability and potential to be a reliable, versatile and productive NFL receiver. Good fit in the Vikings offense.

DeAndre Hopkins (Clemson)

Cordarrelle Patterson (Tennessee)

Immediate Impacters
Stedman Bailey (West Virginia) – Overshadowed in this draft by his college teammate (Tavon Austin), Bailey was every bit as much a playmaker for West Virginia. In 2012, there were only two games in which he didn’t score a TD, and he recorded a 5-TD and 4-TD game during the season. Bailey had 114 receptions and 25 TDs last year – those are not typos.

Aaron Dobson (Marshall)

Chris Harper (Kansas State) – Senior Bowl standout who is tough, sure-handed and deceivingly fast.

Justin Hunter (Tennessee) – Great height for the position at 6-4, but needs to bulk up on his 196-pound frame. Has great ability and needs to grow into frame – sounds a lot like what we said about Sidney Rice the year the Vikings selected him in the 2nd round. Hmm…

Quinton Patton (Louisiana Tech) - Fast and quick with good size, Patton is a natural at the position and was ultra-productive in college. Plays bigger than he looks, has good wiggle after the catch and looks the part. Intriguing.

Markus Wheaton (Oregon State)
Terrance Williams (Baylor)

Robert Woods (USC) – Wrote about him in a recent Monday Morning Mailbag. In a typical year, he’d be a sure-fire 1st-rounder. But this class is so deep that he blends in, which means some team will take him and realize great value in doing so.

Potential Playmakers
Josh Boyce (TCU)
Corey Fuller – Virginia Tech)
Cobi Hamilton (Arkansas) – Improved as the week went on at the Senior Bowl; another Arkansas WR in Minnesota?
Marquise Goodwin (Texas) – Ran a 4.27 40-yard dash at the Combine; may be the best returner in this class.
Aaron Mellette (Elon)
Da’Rick Rogers  (Tennessee Tech)
Rodney Smith (Florida State) – Great size (6-6, 219); played with Christian Ponder; mid-to-late-round value?
Kenny Stills (Oklahoma) – One of my favorite sleepers in this position group; tough and makes the difficult catches; productive at OU.
Ryan Swope (Texas A&M)

Developmental
Alan Bonner – Jacksonville State
Marlon Brown – Georgia
Chad Bumphis – Mississippi State
Dan Buckner – Arizona
DeVonte Christopher – Utah
Keenan Davis – Iowa
Marcus Davis – Virginia Tech
Blake Emory – Auburn
Tyrone Goard – Eastern Kentucky
Mark Harrison – Rutgers
Erik Highsmith – North Carolina
Josh Jarboe – Arkansas State
Darius Johnson – SMU
Brandon Kaufman – Eastern Washington
La’Rod King – Kentucky
Tavarres King – Georgia
Javone Lawson – Louisiana-Lafayette
Alec Lemon – Syracuse
Mamal Miles – Arizona State
TJ Moe – Missouri
Uzoma Nwachukwu – Texas A&M
Denard Robinson – Michigan
Zach Rogers – Tennessee
Ray Roundtree – Michigan
Marcus Sales – Syracuse
Lanear Sampson – Baylor
Russell Sheppard – LSU
Ryan Spadola – Lehigh
Kenbrell Thompkins – Cincinnati
Marquess Wilson – Washington State
Ace Sanders – South Carolina
Conner Vernon – Duke


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Draft Preview: Sorting Out The Inside Linebackers

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 8, 2013 – 5:12 am

The Vikings don’t have a returning starter at middle LB (Jasper Brinkley signed with Arizona), they have 11 picks overall and 6 selections in the first 4 rounds of this year’s draft, and both of their 1st-round selections sit in the area where many expect a few inside LBs to come off the board. Add it all up, and it’s fair to wonder if the Vikings will be in the mix to take one of the draft’s top inside LBs.

There are many factors to consider when evaluating a linebacker’s chances of making it in the NFL. Is he a 2-down or 3-down LB? Does his college position transition well to the NFL? Or will he have to go through a position change? Those are relevant questions and will be part of the evaluation process for teams as they examine this year’s crop of LBs.

The highest-profile player in this class is Manti Te’o, the leader of the country’s 2nd-ranked defense (Notre Dame) this past season. Those draft analysts who don’t have Te’o atop their boards likely have Georgia’s Alex Ogletree rated #1. Others often included in the top tier are LSU’s Kevin Minter and Kansas State’s Arthur Brown. The analysts in our most recent Mock Madness are virtually split between Ogletree and Te’o at #1 and #2, then it’s generally Minter who rates #3 and Brown comes in at #4. There is one mention of Kevin Reddick by ProFootballWeekly.com.

Only time will tell if the Vikings tab one of the class’ top LBs early in the draft or if they choose to rely on the position’s depth and lean on the middle rounds. For now, all we can do is assess the options. Here’s a look at this year’s crop of LBs (alphabetical order)…

Arthur Brown – Kansas State
An instinctive player with over 100 tackles as a senior in 2012, Brown possesses an adequate frame (6-0, 241) to play middle LB in the NFL. He redshirted his first season with Kansas State (transferred from Miami) before starting all 13 games as a team captain in 2011. After collecting 100+ tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss (TFLs), Brown was named the Big 12 Defensive Newcomer of the Year and was also 1st-team all-conference for the Wildcats. His success continued in 2012 as he amassed a second consecutive 100-tackle season and also tallied 7.0 tackles for loss (TFLs), 4 pass breakups (PBUs), 2 INTs and a sack.

Cool fact: Brown intercepted both Robert Griffin III and Geno Smith during his career at Kansas State.

Kevin Minter – LSU
Because the LSU Tigers consistently boast one of the country’s top defensive units, it’s easy for an individual to become overshadowed. After all, it was the likes of Michael Brockers, Morris Claiborne, Tyrann Mathieu, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery and Eric Reid who (deservedly) received much of the hype. But through it all, Minter was a solid contributor. The 6-0, 246-pound junior earned consensus 1st-Team All-SEC honors and was named his team’s MVP in 2012 following a campaign in which he totaled 130 tackles, 15 TFLs (which led the team), 5 PBUs, 4.0 sacks and a forced fumble.

Cool fact: Squatted 545 pounds as a redshirt freshman at LSU.

Alec Ogletree – Georgia
Athletic and productive, Ogletree enters the NFL draft after his junior season. In 30 games at Georgia Ogletree was productive, tallying just short of 200 tackles, 20.0 TFLs, 8 PBUs, 6.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles and 1 INT. He was the Bulldogs’ leading tackler over the final 6 games of 2012 and was named All-SEC 1st Team after the season. The 6-2, 242-pound Ogletree came to Georgia as a safety and started his first game there, but quickly converted to LB and formed a talented duo with fellow draft class member Jarvis Jones. Ogletree missed the first 6 games of 2011 due to a broken foot and was also suspended the first 4 games of 2012. But when on the field, Ogletree is a difference-maker.

Cool fact: Has a twin brother who played FB for Georgia.

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Manti Te’o – Notre Dame
One of the most decorated defensive players in the history of college football, Te’o prepares to enter the NFL following an ultra-productive 4 seasons at Notre Dame in which he started 49 of 51 games (had 47 straight starts) and became the second player in school history to tally 100+ tackles in 3 consecutive seasons. Te’o was a consensus 1st-Team All-America by the Associated Press, Walter Camp and American Football Coaches Association. He finished runner-up in Heisman voting after this past season and helped lead Notre Dame to the national championship game. An off-field situation during the 2012 season in which he was the victim of an elaborate hoax captivated the sports world, but more relevant to Te’o’s football future is that he was one of the most productive players in the history of one of the country’s best programs and he has top-notch work ethic and intangible traits that will increase his chances of success at the NFL level.

Cool fact: Was teammates at Notre Dame with current Vikings S Robert Blanton, TE Kyle Rudolph and S Harrison Smith.

Don’t forget…
Kiko Alonso – Played 4 seasons at Oregon, led team in TFLs (14.0) in 2012 and was named 2nd-Team All Pac-12 after the ’12 season.
Jon Bostic – Senior from Florida known as big-time hitter against the run.
Kevin Reddick – A 4-year, productive starter at North Carolina who possesses traits that give him position flexibility.
Vince Williams – Key to Florida State ranking #2 in total defense during 2012 season and started 25 games the past 2 seasons.

Mid- and late-round prospects (as rated by NFL.com)
Michael Mauti (Penn State)
Nico Johnson (Alabama) – Nick Saban-coached, productive, smart, lunch-pail type of player who can step in and battle in the trenches.
Kenny Cain (TCU)
Bruce Taylor (Virginia Tech)
Steve Beauharnais (Rutgers) – Doesn’t jump out at you, but a solid and experienced player who may have been overshadowed at Rutgers.
Kenny Demens (Michigan)
Shaq Wilson (South Carolina)
Tom Wort (Oklahoma)
AJ Klein (Iowa State) – I’d rate him higher; 3-year starter in college; could play multiple positions in NFL; will be special teams star
John Lotulelei (UNLV) – No relation to Star Lotulelei; undersized; 121 tackles in 2012
Uona Kaveinga (BYU)
Jonathan Stewart (Texas A&M)
Will Compton (Nebraska)
Brandon Hepburn (Florida A&M)
Nick Clancy (Boston College)


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Ponders To Host Charity Celebrity Wiffleball Tournament

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 3, 2013 – 6:03 am

Arizona is a hotbed for baseball this time of year with several MLB teams holding their spring training workouts in the sun-splashed, winter getaway state. While spring training will have long ended and baseball’s regular season will be in full swing, the sport of baseball (in an alternative form) will still be alive in the Scottsdale area thanks to Christian and Samantha Ponder.

The newly-wed couple will host the The M.A.D. Wiffleball Classic, a charity celebrity wiffleball tournament that will benefit M.A.D. (Make A Difference) Ministries.

With Samantha (Steele) Ponder being joined by the Vikings QB as host, the inaugural M.A.D. Wiffleball Classic will be held on Sunday, April 14, at Salt River Fields in Scottsdale, Arizona. The event, which begins at 12:30 p.m. and concludes at 4:00 p.m., will consist of 24 teams of seven players, with celebrity players on each team. In addition to fielding the presenting Ponder Team, Christian and Samantha will be joined by a long list of family and celebrity friends, athletes, national broadcasters and entertainers.

So for any Minnesota snowbirds who’ve retreated to the Arizona desert or for any Vikings fans living in the area, it might be worth some time and effort to checkout this event. There is no admission fee to be a spectator, although donations will be accepted.  A Kids’ Zone play area and food and drinks will be available for purchase.

Click here for more information on the event.

M.A.D Ministries is a faith-based 501-C3 organization, founded by Samantha Ponder’s mother and father, Cindi and Jerry Steele. The volunteer-driven program provides college scholarships, housing, education, spiritual guidance and athletic training in inner city Phoenix, Zimbabwe, Palestine, Israel and soon, Minneapolis.

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Greenway Awards Equipment Grant To Hometown High School

Posted by Mike Wobschall on April 1, 2013 – 5:58 am

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Vikings LB Chad Greenway was named to the USA Football 2012 All-Fundamentals Team this past January, and as part of the award the community-conscious Greenway received an equipment grant valued at $1,500 from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school program of his choice.

Last week it was announced that Greenway will donate the grant to his high school  alma mater’s football program – Mount Vernon (SD) High School.

“We had a genuine need to upgrade our equipment for safety reasons, and this grant not only allows us new compression girdles and knee pads but frees up money to be spent in other areas as well,” Mount Vernon High School Athletics Director Eric Denning said. “We are very ecstatic to receive the grant as it will provide the safest equipment for all boys in our football program.”

More on USA Football
USA Football is the official youth football development partner of the Vikings and the NFL. The USA All-Fundamentals Team honors 26 NFL players who employ proper technique, particularly when blocking and tackling, which fosters inherent safety benefits and better on-field performance.

Employing core football fundamentals advances a youth player’s performance and safety, particularly in the areas of blocking and tackling. USA Football has educated more than 100,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics. Approximately 3 million American children age 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.

 


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Where Does The Jennings Acquisition Rank?

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 27, 2013 – 4:48 pm

The NFL began a new League Year on March 12, and the news came fast and furious once teams were able to do business. Long-rumored trades become official, core players were re-signed, coveted free agents made big-money decisions and teams manipulated their rosters to put themselves in optimum salary cap position.

Through it all, the Vikings were significant players during the process. They re-signed RT Phil Loadholt and several other of their own free agents, they swapped WR Percy Harvin for three draft choices (including a 1st-rounder this year) and they did what they had to do to clear room under the salary cap.

The move that made the most noise on a national level, though, was the signing of WR Greg Jennings.

So just where does the Jennings signing rank in terms of relevance across the NFL? Bucky Brooks of NFL.com has considered all the roster shuffling and has compiled a list of the 10 most significant. It’s worth a quick read.

Let us know what you think of Brooks’ list and of his opinion regarding the Jennings acquisition by leaving your thoughts in the comments section below this entry…

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No Shortage Of Stars At Southern Cal Pro Day

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 26, 2013 – 6:52 pm

On Tuesday morning we previewed Notre Dame’s pro day. On Wednesday, another high-profile football program known for pushing out professionals will hold its pro day, too. NFL GMs, coaches and scouts will descend upon the University of Southern California campus to continue their tour of the country in the lead-up to the 2013 NFL Draft.

The big news out of USC’s pro day will be the workout of QB Matt Barkley, as he looks to mitigate his senior season slide. A year ago, Barkley would likely have been considered a lock to go in the 1st round. But he chose to return to USC for his senior season, and a combo platter of performance and injury has led to a reduced draft stock. In his final season, Barkley threw fewer TDs, more INTs, took more sacks, threw for a lower percentage and registered a lower passer rating than he did during his junior season. On top of that, he suffered a sprain of the AC joint in his throwing shoulder, causing him to miss USC’s final two games.

Wednesday marks the first time Barkley has thrown publicly since suffering the shoulder injury, so expect to hear a lot of reaction to that.

But there are others who will perform at USC’s pro day who are worthy of mention. I was impressed with S TJ McDonald in watching him at the Senior Bowl in January, and it’s hard to not be impressed whenever you watch WR Robert Woods. Over the past 2 seasons at USC, Woods hauled in 187 receptions for 2,138 yards and 26 TDs. For fans of a team that is in the process of upgrading its WR corps, those numbers are tantalizing.

Roberts Woods, Matt Barkley

Others participating in USC’s pro day include: C Khaled Holmes, DE Wes Horton, CB Nickell Robey and S Jawanza Starling.


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Ranking The Draft’s “Explosive” Prospects (And Finding One For The Vikings?)

Posted by Mike Wobschall on March 26, 2013 – 8:47 am

Pat Kirwan is one of my favorite NFL analysts. I first became familiar with him because he was a writer and analyst for NFL.com. He’s now a contributor to CBSSports.com, but his best work in my opinion is done as co-host of Sirius NFL Radio’s Moving the Chains. Kirwan’s most recent written piece explains the place “explosiveness” has in the NFL, offers a method of measuring explosiveness, and then identifies and ranks the Top 20 Explosive Players in this year’s draft.

Before you click the link to check out Kirwan’s rankings, there’s something you should keep in mind. The top-ranked explosive player on his list is a player who was much discussed right here on the vikings.com Blog earlier this year. His name is Cornelius Washington, and he played DE for the University of Georgia. I wrote extensively about one of Washington’s Senior Bowl practices, going so far as to say that he may have matched the dominance that DT Sylvester Williams showcased at the Senior Bowl as well.

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The point of this entry is not to promote Washington as a selection for the Vikings in the 2013 NFL Draft, although I’m not opposed to that at this point. Rather, it’s interesting to note not just how well Kirwan explains the place explosiveness has in the game of football but how he’s chosen to try and measure an athlete’s ability to explode and, consequently, his potential ability to make an impact at the NFL level. His piece is worth a read.

Once you’re done reading Kirwan’s piece, though, make sure to come back to vikings.com to stay up-to-date on all Vikings and 2013 NFL Draft news.

Click here to review our coverage of the 2013 Senior Bowl.

Click here to review our coverage of the 2013 Scouting Combine.


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