Senior WR Talks with Vikings

It's hardly a secret that the Vikings need to upgrade their talent at wide receiver, so it came as no surprise to learn that they were interviewing a receiving prospect at last week's Senior Bowl. Find out who it was and get daily practice reports on him, along with a video interview and analysis.

The Vikings interviewed wide receiver prospect Dwayne Bowe last week at the Senior Bowl, hardly a surprise given the Vikings' needs at wide receiver.

The team's leading receiver last year was Travis Taylor, who had 57 catches for 651 yards, both team highs, and four touchdowns. But following the season, Taylor, a pending unrestricted free agent, didn't seem particularly excited about returning, saying that he originally came to the Vikings to play with Daunte Culpepper, who was traded before the start of the 2006 season.

Even with Taylor, wide receiver is widely considered a position of need for the Vikings entering the 2007 free-agent and draft periods, and most draft pundits expect the Vikings would select Georgia Tech wide receiver Calvin Johnson if he slid to Minnesota's seventh overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. But if Johnson isn't available with the seventh pick, the emerging analysis says that there might not be another receiver in the draft worthy of such a high selection.

USC's Dwayne Jarrett and Ohio State's Ted Ginn Jr. each have first-round grades attached to them, but going as high as the seventh pick overall with one of those two receivers might engender the "reach" label.

All of which leaves LSU's Bowe as a possibility with the Vikings' second-round pick and therefore could be the cause for the Vikings' interest in the receiver at last week's Senior Bowl practices. Measuring in at 6-foot-2, Bowe might have been slightly shorter than previously thought, but he had a very solid week of practices, according to TFY Draft Preview's on-site analysis of him.
"A prospect who utilizes his impressive size well," TFY wrote in its final analysis of Bowe's Senior Bowl week. "He shows terrific hands and will attack the ball at its highest point. He … regularly fools defenders with double moves. He creates good separation but sometimes loses focus and drops easy catches."

Bowe finished the 2006 season as a first-team All-SEC pick of the coaches and second-team selection by the Associated Press.

He appears to be a player on the rise, which is expected considering he didn't start playing organized football until his junior season in high school in Miami.

He started his collegiate career with nine catches for 106 yards in LSU's National Championship season when Bowe was a freshman in 2003, and for each of the next three years his receptions, yardage and touchdowns continued to increase. In 2004, he had 39 catches for 597 yards and five TDs, and he improved those numbers to 43-710-9 as a junior. But in his senior season, Bowe easily eclipsed his previous production, catching 65 passes for 990 yards and 12 touchdowns, which may have helped make him a top-50 selection in April's draft.

He finished his career with 154 receptions (fourth on LSU's all-time list) for 2,403 (fifth at LSU) and a school-record 26 touchdowns.

He seemed to somewhat overcome his propensity to drop passes during his senior season, which might be attributed to him having Lasik eye surgery after his junior campaign. He will have to continue to prove himself in that regard during pro day and combine workouts.

Despite not playing until his junior year in high school, when he produced 32 catches for 624 yards, his senior season produced 40 receptions for 822 yards and 14 TDs, propelling him to Fox Sport Net South's All-South second-team and first-team Miami-Dade County, and the No. 13 ranking among wide receivers, according to College Football News. His senior statistics helped propel Norland High to its first state championship (6A) in school history.

Here are TFY Draft Preview's daily practice reports on Bowe from last week's Senior Bowl:

Monday: Good practice. Marginal route runner, but caught everything thrown to him. Worked his routes and physically beat down opponents for balls. Was the interest of several teams at hand.

Tuesday: Capable of making some incredible catches, Bowe also dropped a few easy ones. He has the ability to run ankle-breaking routes but often loses focus and runs them sloppily. He does fight for the ball and has great field awareness. Overall, his play has stood out.

Wednesday: Shows terrific hands and the ability to consistently create separation. He has big, soft hands and catches passes smoothly. He excels at getting a smooth release and will fight to catch anything near him. He's a definite red zone threat.

Thursday: Had a highlight catch by outleaping the smaller defender and snatching the ball at its highest point.


Interview with Dwayne Bowe

TFY Draft Preview's Tony Pauline talks about Bowe

Dwayne Bowe Player Page

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