The Vikings have made no secret of their desire to add a quarterback in the 2014 NFL Draft. It's possible they add two of them, if their interest in South Carolina QB Connor Shaw is legitimate.
Shaw, who isn't expected to be drafted until the third day of the draft, if at all, met twice with the Vikings at the NFL Scouting Combine – one formally and one informally (teams are allowed 60 formal interviews of 15 minutes each at the Combine).
"They said there would be good opportunities if I were to land at that place because they had a little quarterback battle going on," Shaw said.
Shaw checked into the Combine at 6-foot-7, 207 pounds. That's not very big by NFL quarterback standards, but he brings an athletic presence to the position.
"There is not a specific mold you have to fit anymore to be an NFL quarterback," Shaw said. "You see Russell Wilson and he's kind of proved that. He's got a shiny rock on his finger now and he's 6 foot. I don't think there is a prototypical quarterback size anymore."
In his four seasons at South Carolina, Shaw improved on a fairly consistent basis. He didn't play much as a freshman but completed 65.4 percent of his 188 passes for 1,448 yards, 14 touchdowns and six interceptions as a sophomore. In 2012, he completed 67.5 percent of his 228 passes for 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Last year, he completed 63.4 percent for 2,447 yards and an impressive 24-to-1 touchdowns-to-interceptions ratio.
With 27 wins, he is also South Carolina's winningest quarterback.
"A good bit of (NFL teams) congratulate me on a good career at South Carolina, and they admire my competitiveness, my toughness, and they just kind of get a feel for what I know from a football standpoint and a little bit about my personal life," he said.
"I think my record speaks for itself. In my opinion, that's the best conference in college football, and I believe I am an elite competitor. I think I am going to prove that in the NFL."
Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier called Shaw the best quarterback he has coached, and Shaw returned the love to Shaw on Saturday at the Combine.
"That's why I wanted to go play for Coach Spurrier because he demands perfection. He is never complacent," Shaw said. "He's going to get the very best out of you. He did that. He made me better each year I played."
The Vikings were hardly the only team showing an interest in Shaw. He met with Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and a number of other teams informally. He figured he talked to more than 75 percent of the teams in the NFL through formal and informal interviews.
But Shaw did more than just throw the ball. He became one of the Gamecocks' key runners, rushing a whopping 48 times in the final two games combined, including 94 yards against Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl. But Shaw knows he can't rely on his feet more than his arm in the NFL.
"I don't want to take any unnecessary hits," he said, acknowledging that he endured a number of injuries in his career. "When you play at this level, when someone gets ahold of you, it's going to hurt a lot worse than it did in college so I have to plan that a little smarter than I did in college."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Vikings met with athletic quarterback
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