As nerve-wracking as it can be for most of them, linebacker Audie Cole had it worse. Much worse.
Cole, a three-year starter at North Carolina State, was a player who was told a lot of different things. It seemed as though it depended on who he talked to from one day to the next as to what his draft projection would be – and they couldn't have been more disparate.
"I was told I had one of the widest ranges that anyone has ever had in the draft," Cole said. "Supposedly one team had me with a second-round grade and others had me as a free agent. That was kind of unheard of. I really had no idea when it was going to happen. I'm just that thankful that it did and I'm excited where (I'm) at."
Cole earned a reputation as a strongside linebacker and special teams standout in his first two years as a starter, but, when the time came for the Wolfpack defense to fill a void in the middle, he happily moved inside to a new position, recording a team-high 108 tackles last season.
"It was a coaching/needs decision," Cole said. "I played the previous years at outside Sam linebacker. Once we lost Nate Irving, he's on the Denver Broncos now, we had a hole at middle linebacker we needed to fill. (Linebackers) Coach (Jon) Tenuta wanted me there and wanted me to make the call and (be) responsible for the defense. I gladly played it. I wanted to play middle linebacker. I wanted to be the one in control and make all the calls and the responsibility."
Just as his draft stock had a shockingly wild range, so, too, were the projections as to his ideal spot in an NFL defense. Will he play inside? Will he play outside? Just like where he projected to be picked, the advice he's been given has been a night-and-day difference.
"I've been told by people that I'll play outside and never play inside again and I've been told by people that I'm an inside linebacker," Cole said. "Honestly, I don't know. It's up to the coaches in Minnesota now what they want me to do. What I know I'm going to be doing is working my tail off on special teams every day and do whatever I can do to help them out."
Cole's drive and determination are all about him. His Friday and Saturday were extremely long and mentally draining, but, after being coached by the Vikings staff at the Senior Bowl, he had an inkling he could end up in purple. He just didn't know it would take so long.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.