If the Vikings end up looking for a linebacker that can cover, one name that continues to emerge from the draft analysts and film junkies in the media is Kansas State's Arthur Brown.
Brown was a workhorse for the Wildcats after finally finding a college that gave him a chance. After spending two years searching for a full-time role with the Miami Hurricanes, Brown transferred to Kansas State and excelled … and got plenty of playing time.
He played in 845 snaps, 163 more than the average linebacker, according to STATS LLC, and his team was 22 percent more "successful" (measured on a down-by-down basis) on snaps when he was in the game.
Most analysts seem to like Khaseem Greene as a coverage linebacker before Brown, but if Brown is available when the Vikings pick in the second round, he could be a Vikings option as long as his shoulder is deemed healthy enough.
"Boy, he's a guy that makes a ton of sense. He can run; he's a playmaker. I like him a lot," said NFL Network's Mike Mayock.
Because of his shoulder injury, Brown didn't play in the Senior Bowl and didn't run the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, but if he runs at his pro day he is expected to be one of the faster linebackers in the draft.
He said being considered a "run and chase" linebacker isn't a bad thing.
"My goal is to be where I need to be. Pursuing to the ball is a key element to my game and any defensive game," he said. "That is something I strive to always consistently do, aggressively downhill, always making plays in open speed."
Brown played inside at Kansas State but is expected to be most valuable as an outside linebacker in a 4-3 defense in the NFL, and he talked informally with the Vikings at the combine.
Given his solid coverage skills, his quickness and his ability to chase sideline to sideline, it wouldn't be a surprise to see the Vikings take a long look at him.
"All Arthur Brown did was make play after play," ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper said.
Brown can also get to the ball carrier in a hurry. He had six "stuffs" last year with Kansas State, more than the average college linebacker. He wasn't used much in pressuring the quarterback, and he may need to improve his ability to get off blocks when engaged at the NFL level.
At least he will have some insight from another NFL player – his brother Bryce Brown, a rookie running back last year with the Philadelphia Eagles.
"It was helpful to watch Bryce and his mentality, his approach – not necessarily to the game but the business side of it," Brown said. "Definitely will be an eye opener. It has helped me in this process leading up to the combine and the draft. It is a business and you have to approach it in that manner and that has helped me keep it in a proper perspective."
Brown said he decided not to come out early for the draft last year because he wanted to improve his game, and he should be a Day 2 pick this year after making 15 "impact" tackles, according to STATS, which is 4½ more than the average linebacker and the best among the top draftable linebackers.
"No secret," he said. "Be at the right place at the right time."
Now he hopes he is in the right place at the next stage of his career, and it sounds like the Vikings would be one of the natural fits for him.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Linebacker ‘makes a ton of sense' for Vikings
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