Small-School TE Has Possibilities

The Vikings have had success with small-school tight ends in the past (see Jim Kleinsasser) and they have worked out another draft possibility from a school not typically associated with putting players in the NFL.

Jim Kleinsasser turned a college football career at the University of North Dakota into a solid six years of NFL football to date, and the Vikings showed their commitment to him by signing him to a five-year, $15 million contract last March.

While Kleinsasser was a second-round draft pick in 1999, a small-college prospect from little Lehigh is catching the Vikings' interest as a potential mid-round selection in 2005.

Adam Bergen attended the NFL Combine in February and had a private workout for Vikings tight end coach John Tice. Bergen told Viking Update he has interviewed with a number of NFL tight end coaches.

Bergen, a 6-foot-4, 265-pounder, was a three-year starter and was named all-conference and All-America the past two seasons after posting 124 catches for 1,475 yards and 14 touchdowns in his junior and senior campaigns.

While his biggest asset is his ability as a pass-catcher, he is considered an able blocker.

"(He) can shuffle his feet in pass protection, stays square and is always looking to hit someone," TFY Draft Preview says about Bergen. "Immediately gets out on the second level and removes linebackers from the play. Attacks blocking assignments."

In the passing game, TFY analyzes him thusly: "Makes the reception in stride, effectively using his frame to box out opponents. Works routes, stays low on exit and positions himself to make the catch. Displays terrific concentration and creates a lot of mismatches."

He isn't considered a vertical threat, but his body control allows him to be a productive receiver. Sounds familiar, a little like Kleinsasser, doesn't it?

Well, Bergen will probably have to improve his blocking skills to be considered in Kleinsasser's class, but the Vikings think enough of Bergen to consider him worthy of a look … and maybe a draft selection on April 24.

At the combine in February, Bergen told Viking Update that he played quarterback in high school and has run as fast as a 4.6 in the 40-yard dash (officially, he's more in the 4.75-4.9 range). He admitted that he is a better pass receiver than blocker and was moved around a lot, even playing as a slot receiver at times at Lehigh.

Scout.com has him rated as the eighth-best tight end in the 2005 draft.

Bergen was a three-sport athlete at Seaport (N.Y.) High School, lettering in football, basketball and baseball.

RUMOR OF NOTE

  • According to a radio report out of Philadelphia Sunday night, the Eagles were close to trading wide receiver Freddie Mitchell to the Vikings. The Vikings opted to sign Baltimore free-agent wide receiver Travis Taylor instead.


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