Measurables? Check. Wide receiver confidence? Check. Production? Yet to be determined.
That might be the checklist of receiver Tori Gurley's young career to date. He is 6-foot-4, 232 pounds – an ideal size for a Minnesota Vikings team looking to find a young outside-the-hashes receiver that has been lacking since Sidney Rice left for the lucrative free-agent waters in Seattle.
Gurley's last game with the Packers was his best. After being held to one catch through the first three preseason games combined, he caught two passes for 69 yards in the preseason finale … and then was waived.
He doesn't appear to lack confidence. When asked if he thought he would make the 53-man roster of the Green Bay Packers – he spent last year on the practice squad – he correctly predicted that he would at least be playing (or practicing) football somewhere.
"I'm confident that I'm going to be playing football Week 1. Wherever it's at, if it's here or one of the other 31 teams, I know that I've put out great film consistently throughout the past two years," Gurley said after Thursday's preseason finale in Green Bay. "I pray I'm a Green Bay Packer. That's all I want. That's something I've been working toward. That's why I didn't leave when Minnesota called, because I knew I was going to have my opportunity to show them everything I've got."
Indeed, Gurley did get an offer to join the Vikings' 53-man roster for the final three games of the 2011 regular season. Bernard Berrian had been released six weeks earlier. Michael Jenkins had been placed on injured reserve two weeks earlier. Stephen Burton went on injured reserve the previous day. The Vikings were in desperate need of a receiver, but Gurley still turned down the offer for the opportunity to continue to develop on the Packers' practice squad since they were going to the playoffs and the Vikings were going to be done in three weeks.
This year, things worked out differently. The Packers placed him on waivers and the Vikings still had an interest, adding him to their practice squad.
"Proud to be the newest member of the Minnesota Vikings!!!" Gurley tweeted Saturday. "I would like to Thank the Packers & the Packer Fans for a great time in GB but now it's time to get the ball rolling with the #Vikings!!!"
While Gurley has similar body size to Rice, it's interesting to note that he grew up just down the road from him in South Carolina. He won't get a chance to show his talents immediately at the start of the season in game situations, but he knew he was clearly on the roster bubble in Green Bay and tried to perform under pressure in the preseason finale.
"I think I played better under a lot of pressure," he said. "That's something my mother taught me at a young age. She said, hey, for you to be that X-factor you have to be able to perform when all eyes are on you. That's just something I thank God and my family for."
His 54-yard reception against Kansas City was the longest of his career, but he also had another chance at deep completion in that game and was overthrown by quarterback Graham Harrell.
Last preseason, he caught nine passes for 89 yards, but never had a reception longer than 12 yards. Last year, he was also targeted 16 times in the preseason; this year only six.
"You can't control how many passes you get or the little things in football that a lot of people don't take into consideration, but the coaches take notice of all of that," he said. "I stayed consistent, no matter what, from getting one or two touches to however many targets I get."
Now, it's back to the practice squad, only this time it will be with the Vikings, who continue their search for a young big-bodied, productive outside receiving threat.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
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