While the Vikings consider all of their options at wide receiver in the 2013 NFL Draft, character will play a part in determining which players to slot on their draft board and which to completely remove.
General manager Rick Spielman casts a wide net when it comes to assessing players' character, from team-issued psychological exams to extra time spent with family, friends and associates of players. Most of the receivers with early-round values placed on them don't have obvious character concerns – Robert Woods of USC received a glowing review in that regard from Vikings receivers coach George Stewart after Woods' pro day – but there are a few prospects in the middle rounds and later that Spielman and his staff have no doubt investigated further.
Perhaps one of the biggest concerns is former Tennessee Tech receiver Da'Rick Rogers. In 2010, as a member of the Tennessee Volunteers program, he was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest stemming from an early-morning bar brawl that left an off-duty police officer who tried to break up the fight unconscious, according to the Huffington Post.
Rogers was also the focus of a report in SaturdayDownSouth.com in December 2011 that painted a picture of dysfunction between the receiver and Volunteers QB Tyler Bray, who is also considered a character risk in this draft. According to that report, Rogers was allowed to talk back to teammates and coaches "with little repercussion."
According to an Associated Press report, Rogers admitted last August that failed drug tests – "a couple of drug tests, yes sir," he said – led his departure from Tennessee.
If the Vikings are interested in Rogers – and with those characters concerns it would be surprising – they should have a good source. Former Vikings receivers coach Charlie Baggett holds that same position with the University of Tennessee.
West Virginia receiver Stedman Bailey, who could be considered as early as the third round by some teams, has a minor blemish on his record.
Bailey was cited for shoplifting Theraflu at a grocery store in January, according to wvupressbox.com. He was reportedly cooperative with authorities and because of the small value of the item he allegedly tried to steal, no further action was expected.
Some of the other offenses are a bit more serious.
Georgia receiver Tavarres King was charged with underage possession of alcohol after the person he was with was charged with DUI, among other things, in July 2010. They allegedly left the scene of an accident. King was suspended for one game, but since then he has been credited as being a leader by example and an Honor Roll student.
Oklahoma receiver Kenny Stills was arrested in January 2011 on suspicion of misdemeanor DUI, according to the Oklahoman. He was suspended for the 2011 season opener.
There are other receivers with off-the-field question marks, but that applies to other positions, too, including a running back in which the Vikings showed an interest.
Texas A&M running back Christine Michael was suspended for one game last year after a violation of team rules and he had a rocky one-year relationship with Kevin Sumlin's coaching staff. Michael was called the "third back" on the team early in the 2012 season. He made just two starts last year, was ejected from one game for throwing a punch and didn't play in the Cotton Bowl.
The Vikings scheduled a private workout with Michael and likely followed up there after seeing him perform at the East-West Shrine game in January.
The character questions aren't limited to the skill-position players on offense, but given the Vikings' need for a receiver and their workout with Michael, the concerns are worth noting leading up to the draft.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Character concerns: Skill-position players
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