Rookie Free Agents To Begin Battle

When the Vikings begin their official minicamp on Friday, it will be the first look at the full squad, including a dozen rookie free agents signed right after the draft. Less than half of them will make the 53-man roster, but here is a capsule look at the longshot newcomers.

Like last year, the Vikings were quick to add a strong group of undrafted free agents before the sun went down on Day Two of the draft. Again, they reportedly coughed up a little more than usual in signing bonus money to attract some of the players they targeted. From this group, as many as four or five could make it.

Sean Berton, TE (6-4, 279, 4.91) North Carolina StateOne of the best blocking tight ends coming out this year. Versatile guy who lined up at tight end, fullback and H-back. Is not that nifty or athletic but has nice size, can catch the ball and is an effective all-around blocker. Solid prospect with a good chance to eventually make the big club and contribute, especially in the Vikings' system.

LaWaylon Brown, DT (6-4, 305, 5.13) Oklahoma StatePlayed side-by-side with top pick Kevin Williams. Big, strong, tough two-gap player who lacks his linemate's movement skills and athleticism. More of an inside plugger who occupies blockers. Lacks suddenness and is not much of a pass rusher. Worth bringing to camp but has limited upside potential.

Colin Cole, DT (6-2, 309, 5.15) IowaSmart, massive, powerful player who's the cream of the team's undrafted rookie free agent crop. Team leader on Iowa's defense. An effective two-gap run stuffer who works hard and wants to get better. Has a good feel for the game. Quick and disruptive with some push inside on the pass rush. Cole has a very good chance to make the team as a backup.

Steve Farmer, TE (6-4, 255, 4.84) Tennessee State — Raw but talented, athletic tight end with a legitimate chance to compete for a roster spot. A former basketball player with soft hands and very good pass-catching ability. Is still very raw and will need lots of reps but is an intriguing prospect with good long-range potential.

Adam Goldberg, OT (6-7, 330, 5.44) WyomingLocal product from Edina who worked out for the team prior to the draft because of his local ties. Might not have the athleticism to stay at tackle, but has the size, strength (450-pound bench-press) and technical proficiency to develop inside at guard. Not a sure thing but could be a poor man's Matt Birk under the tutelage of Tice and offensive line coach Steve Loney. Solid developmental-type prospect.

Rushen Jones, CB (5-10, 201, 4.56) VanderbiltSolidly built athlete with some tools to develop. Captain and leader in college. Tough and physical. Is better suited for zone-style pass defense than being locked up man-to-man with receivers. Given the team's lack of depth at corner, he has a legitimate chance to compete for a roster spot.

James Lynch, FB (5-11, 271, 4.79) MarylandA big, physical blocker who can dominate at the point of attack. Powerful short-yardage runner with some quickness, good balance and determination. Catches the ball pretty well. Viable prospect in the Vikings' scheme as a seldom-used, complementary fullback-type with technique and skill development, especially if he can help on special teams.

Jermaine Mays, WR (5-11, 200, 4.53) MinnesotaLocal guy who's biggest asset is his ability to contribute on special teams. A little inconsistent catching the ball but is quick, shifty and elusive running with the ball on returns and/or after the catch.

Willie Miles, CB (6-0, 180, 4.41) Tennessee — Fast, talented and athletic cover corner who is very, very raw and was not very consistent in college. Needs a lot of technique work but can really run and offers a lot of potential if the sum begins to equal its parts.

Ben Nelson, WR (6-2, 185, 4.55) St. Cloud State — Another in-state product with above-average size-speed ratio and some productivity at a lower level of competition. Intriguing small-college prospect worth bringing to camp for a look.

Horace Willis, CB (6-0, 198, 4.55) AuburnSplit time with Roderick Hood (FA; signed with Eagles) at LCB, recorded 33 tackles, 2 interceptions, 8 PBU and one fumble recovery playing in all 13 games last season. Nice size and above-average speed but doesn't come to camp with a long, proven track record of productivity. Still, he does possess the physical tools to merit being in camp.

Juston Wood, QB (6-1, 207, 4.80) Portland State — Smallish but a smart, tough, athletic, productive player with good football intelligence and intangibles. Lacks a big arm but is an effective, move-the-chains-type dink-and-dunk passer with good team leadership skills. Will legitimately vie for the No. 3 quarterback spot with Shaun Hill and Kevin Thompson.

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