When the Vikings were looking to add a wide receiver to their offense, they had a type of player in mind -- a player like Nate Burleson. But, with Burleson ranked by the Vikings as a mid-second round prospect, there wasn't much of a chance they would fill their WR need with him -- or so they thought.
Burleson fell to the seventh pick of the third round and the Vikings happily snapped him up -- adding a player that may have more impact immediately than some people might think.
"We were looking for an experienced player that has versatility," Mike Tice told VU. "We have a couple of guys who are injured and we have a couple of guys who are raw, developmental players. Nate is a guy who has played all three (wide receiver) positions and I expect he's going to step in right away and see playing time."
When asked if he would have preferred a speed receiver like Tyrone Calico, Tice was quick to say that the Vikings weren't looking for another player that fits that mold.
"Calico is a raw talent with a great upside," Tice told VU. "We already have a guy we've been nursing along in Cedric James. We wanted a guy that can come in and compete for playing time. Nate was the guy that the coaches targeted, and they were really excited to get him where we got him. Personally, we think he's a steal."
Burleson has also received the tag of being a possession receiver, which in NFL parlance translates into "slow." Offensive coordinator Scott Linehan said that couldn't be further from the truth.
"He runs a 4.5 40 and has a lot of yards after the catch," Linehan told VU. "We don't see him as a possession receiver in that sense. He can make big plays and that's what we're hoping from him."
Although it will be crowded house of experienced veterans and players fighting injuries behind Randy Moss, Burleson will be given as much a chance to see meaningful playing time as any of the young group of receivers, and the Vikings coaches are excited about that prospect.
Nate Burleson: Vikings' Thoughts
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