Combine To Start Wednesday

Starting Wednesday, the Vikings coaching staff will undertake one of their most important weeks of the year at the NFL's annual scouting combine.

Many casual fans are stunned by the way that a player's stock will go up and down from the time he has finished his most recent college season and on draft day. Kevin Williams, for example, was viewed by many as a mid-first round pick until the NFL's annual Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. The Vikings saw in Williams exactly what they needed up front and made sure they would get him in the 2003 draft.

So it is that hundreds of NFL hopefuls will gather starting Wednesday in Indianapolis for this year's Combine, as coaches and scouts from all 32 NFL teams time and measure everything from agility to speed to leaping ability to mental acuity in the battery of tests.

In some instances, a strong showing can be the difference in making an extra million bucks on draft day. CB Terence Newman of the Cowboys, ran an eye-popping 4.3 40-yard dash at last year's Combine, propeling him into the top five picks. The same will be possible this year.

Players like E.J. Henderson, Nate Burleson and Mike Nattiel all impressed Vikings coaches last year at the Combine and there will be more that join that group this year.

VU will keep you abreast of those players whose stock may be rising or falling, as the NFL gets its initial first-hand look at the rookie Class of 2004.

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