Rick Spielman has made a point of letting it be known he looks ahead to future contracts when deciding which players to add to the current roster. Whether addressing free agency or the draft, the Vikings general manager has an eye on the contract status of players on the current roster.
Case in point: defensive end. A glance at the depth chart for 2013 shows a strong batch of starting and reserve defensive ends. It starts with Pro Bowler Jared Allen, complemented nicely on the left side with Brian Robison, and depth filled adequately with Everson Griffen and D'Aundre Reed. It looks like a strong rotation, but the names likely will change in the near future, maybe as soon as 2014.
All three of the top defensive ends have contracts set to expire after the 2014 season.
That explains why the Vikings continue to look into defensive ends, with the latest evidence coming with news of a workout last week for former Princeton defensive end Mike Catapano. He had private workouts with at least two teams, the Vikings included, according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, and also had his pro day in front of representatives from 15 teams. The Eagles worked him out as a linebacker, the Vikings as a defensive end.
Catapano was voted the Ivy League's best defensive player and received an invitation to the East-West Shrine Game. At his pro day, he measured 6-foot-3 7/8 and 271 pounds, a good size for a defensive end able to run a 4.75-second 40-yard dash, something he did twice. He also showed his athleticism with a 37½-inch vertical jump and 9-foot-8 broad jump, a 4.31-second short shuttle and a 7.09-second three-cone drill. He also benched 225 pounds 33 times.
His 40-yard dash and three-cone times would have been top 10 at the NFL Scouting Combine among defensive linemen and his vertical jump would have been the best among his position group. His short shuttle and bench press numbers would have been third.
Catapano had 12 sacks in 2012 and ranked second in tackles-for-loss in the Ivy League (ninth nationally) with 15½. He had 41 total tackles last year. He also had five pass breakups, three quarterback hurries and three forced fumbles, showing versatility the Vikings love in their defensive linemen.
In Chaminade High School in Bayville, N.Y., Catapano lettered all four seasons in football as a linebacker and fullback, and two years as a defenseman in lacrosse.
The fact that Catapano wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine says he likely will be a late-round prospect at best, but his pro day numbers would indicated he could be a sleeper if he lasts until the later rounds.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings workout shows depth of roster review
Viking Update Top Stories
Cornerbacks: Will Vikings have a need?The necessity for free-agent help at cornerback in a flooded market may have more to do with decisions made internally for the guys they already have.
Viking Update7:03 AM
Sunday slant: Spielman has studiesMinnesota Vikings general manager says he has color coding for draft prospects in abundance, but he has plenty of analytical studies that have produced exactly the conclusions you…
Viking Update6:38 AM
Combine Research: Outside Linebacker (Part 2)Who is short on height but long on production? Who was deemed not good enough to stay on the roster? Who is following in his brother's walk-on footsteps? Those answers and more as…
Packer ReportYesterday at 8:07 PM
Combine Research: Outside Linebacker (Part 1)Who brought the hate for Alabama? Who is best known for his hair (and sacks)? Whose brother was a former NBA first-round draft pick? Those answers and more as we get to know the…
Packer ReportYesterday at 7:47 PM