Vikings Visiting with First-Day Defender

The Vikings aren't just concentrating on their veteran minicamp this weekend. They were also preparing for a visit with a linebacker expected to be drafted in the first day of the 2006 NFL Draft. See what he had to say about his visits and his outlook.

Stanford defender Jon Alston, at 6-foot-1, 223 pounds, may still be searching for a position at the next level, but he's also searching to determine which NFL team will select him in the 2006 NFL Draft. The Vikings, who are were visiting with Alston Monday, are one of the teams showing an interest in him.

"Teams I've done the personal workouts with, the first one I did was Pittsburgh. Coach (Ray) Horton came and worked me out as a safety. Then Dallas came out. Then I had a double-date, if you want to call it that, with Oakland's defensive coordinator, Coach Ryan, and Coach Bresnahan from Cincinnati. And then just this last Monday I finished up with St. Louis," Alston told Ed Thompson with on the network, who inquired about his upcoming visits. "I have one scheduled, and that's with Minnesota. I'm excited to go out to Minnesota because I haven't really met with anyone from Minnesota."

Alston said his lack of visits doesn't concern him because he's talked to other teams who have said they already have a good feel for him and his talents and may not want to tip their hand that they are interested in him.

In fact, nearly every team was represented at Stanford's pro day in March. Alston elected not to run there, as wet field conditions caused problems for those who did run. That came a month after the NFL Combine, where Alston had the fastest 40 among all linebackers with a 4.43 and 4.50, while also topping the broad jump at 11 feet.

Because of his speed, teams are also looking at him playing safety, despite most of his work coming at linebacker at Stanford. He also has played a little bit of rush end. At his pro day, he ran safety drills for a number of teams, taking drops and catching the ball. He looked every bit the part of a safety in both his hands and how he moved, according to,'s Stanford affiliate.

Alston said he has the range, hips and athleticism to play safety, but he doesn't have the experience to make an immediate impact. It's unclear if the Vikings view him as a safety or linebacker, both positions of potential need for the team in the coming years.

Alston's athletic ability also showed well at the Senior Bowl, where he was physically impressive, but left a little to be desired on the mental side of the game, according to TFY Draft Preview.

Alston recorded 6 ½ sacks as a senior and 21 ½ sacks during his collegiate career.


Bio: Two-year starter who totaled 52/9.5/6.5 as a senior. Junior numbers included 62/14/10 when he was an All-Conference selection.

Pos: Explosive linebacker outstanding in pursuit. Fast in every direction, quickly closes on the play and flashes on the scene. Holds his ground against blocks, can pedal in reverse and gets depth on drops.

Neg: Not an instinctive or decisive defender. Takes a lot of missteps or incorrect angles to the action. Does not always play under control.

Analysis: A hard-working defender constantly flying around the action, Alston is a one-gap linebacker who should be an asset on special-teams.

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