On Wednesday, we may have been able to decipher the level of interest the Vikings may have in Waynes as both general manager Rick Spielman and head coach Mike Zimmer attended Waynes’ pro day workout in East Lansing, Mich.
It isn’t unusual for a team to have representation at a pro day or combined workout, but to have both the head coach and general manager in attendance is enough to garner some attention.
Of the players working out at MSU’s pro day, only Waynes has a first-round tag attached to him. Some might argue he’s the only Spartan with a draft grade that would have him coming off the board in the first two or three rounds.
Michigan State has a couple of players that could be of legitimate draft interest to the Vikings other than Waynes.
If Adrian Peterson is shipped off elsewhere, MSU workhorse running back Jeremy Langford could be an option as a mid-round replacement type. Langford caught the eye of coaches and scouts alike over the last couple of years, posting 12 straight 100-yard rushing games against Big Ten competition and closing out his college career on a run of 10 straight 100-yard rushing efforts. While not viewed in the same breath as some of the elite Big 10 running backs in this year’s draft, including Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon and Indiana’s Tevin Coleman, Langford has his selling points and might be on the Vikings radar – even if it would potentially be two or three rounds after Waynes finds an NFL home.
Also potentially in the mix could be middle linebacker Taiwan Jones. In a season where many of the linebackers in the draft class are undersized by prototype NFL standards, Jones is more of a classic inside linebacker at 6-foot-3 and more than 250 pounds. A two-down thumper in the mode of Jasper Brinkey, Jones may be drawing interest from the Vikings as well, but not as a first- or second-day prospect.
There is little questioning that the Vikings are using college pro days to get their own eyeballs on the college talent that will be available over draft weekend. The Vikings have been represented at several pro days already and will continue to be as the college-by-college cattle call continues for the next three weeks. But to have both Spielman and Zimmer, the two people who will carry the most stroke in the Vikings war room, both in attendance at Michigan State’s pro day, one can only assume that the interest is likely centered on the potential of drafting Waynes as a component piece to Zimmer’s defense. If not, it would seem like an inordinate amount of attention to pay a couple of players who will likely still be on the board when the final day of the draft begins.
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