Vikings' CB interest garners varying opinions

The Vikings brought in one cornerback prospect for a visit that appears to have a wide range of opinions and draft stock.

The Vikings weren't among the teams that were reportedly represented at Utah State's pro day in early March, but they did invite one of the Aggies' prospects to join their "top 32" visits this week, cornerback Will Davis announced via Twitter.

Davis is considered a mid-round selection that plays physical at the line of scrimmage with his 5-foot-11, 186-pound frame. Many of his numbers from the NFL Scouting Combine were average among defensive backs, but he did set the bar for his position in two important categories – the three-cone drill and shuttle.

His 6.52-second time in the three-cone and his 4.02 in the shuttle were the best among all defensive backs at the combine, showing his short-area quickness. The only measurable drill he redid at his pro day was the vertical jump, improving from 35½ inches at the combine to 36 inches at his pro day.

ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper isn't as impressed with Davis as some others.

"I thought he was beaten some. I thought his coverage skills were just OK, not great. I didn't give him as high a grade as some do. I projected him as more of a later round guy – a Day 3 guy, sixth-round player. Some think a little earlier than that," Kiper said.

"I think he's a guy that could come off the board a little quicker than what I think, so maybe fourth round, fifth round for Will Davis. I thought he could end up a little higher, but when I watched him – and I watched him in three games and his Senior Bowl week wasn't great – I'm grading him out to be a Day 3 guy."

While the Vikings weren't listed among the 11 NFL teams at Davis' pro day, his invitation to their top-30 visit shows they want to learn more about him, and the team does have a need at cornerback after releasing veteran Antoine Winfield for salary cap reasons.

In his final season at Utah State, Davis had five interceptions – one each in the final five regular season games there. He also had 17 passes defensed and 64 tackles. In 2011, he suffered an elbow injury but still played in all 13 games, starting five, and finished with 35 tackles and six passes defensed.

His road to Utah State was a circuitous one. He played only one year of football at Central Valley (Wash.) High School, enrolled to play at Western Washington, which slashed its football program during his red-shirt freshman year, and then went to De Anza College in California, where he earned All-Golden Gate Conference honors after registering 38 tackles, eight passes defensed and eight interceptions.

Because of his late start and all the transferring he went through to get to Utah State, Davis will be one of the more inexperienced cornerbacks in the draft.

If the season started today, the Vikings likely would have Chris Cook starting on the right side and A.J. Jefferson and Josh Robinson competing for the spot Winfield formerly held on the left side. But there is little question competition for the spot will be brought in, whether through the draft or free agency, or maybe both.

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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