Thursday Combine Notes: Tomlin to Wonderlic

Former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin talked about his new position, his successor with the Vikings and his opinion on the Wonderlic test and its value, which other NFL personnel weighed in on. Plus, other coaches gave their assessment of the draft's deeper positions and on running back Adrian Peterson – all topics of interest to Vikings fans.

Steelers head coach and former Vikings defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin was the first person at the podium Thursday at the NFL Combine, the first access the Minnesota media has had to him.

Tomlin said he has talked with plenty from the coaching fraternity at the Combine, including Brad Childress.

"Yeah, I got a bunch of advice from Brad. I asked for most of it. I think more than anything, most of my mentors told me to be myself, trust my instincts, and that's what I'm doing," Tomlin said.

Tomlin also credited his time with Tony Dungy and with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for giving him myriad experiences in the NFL.

"I experienced just about everything you could experience in this league in Tampa. You learn from life experiences; how to deal with success, how to deal with failure – all of the above. Those were life lessons I learned down there. I'm sure I'll use it on a day-to-day basis," he said.

While Tomlin said he knows new Vikings defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier "socially," he said he hasn't talked with him about what he was trying to accomplish with the Minnesota defense last year or how to proceed in 2007.

"Leslie's got to be Leslie, just like I've got to be myself, and I'm sure that he will," Tomlin said. "I'm sure he'll do a great job. I'll be there for him from a support standpoint if he needs it in any way. But I'm not going to try to tell a story in regards to what awaits him. He's going to figure it out for himself, I'm sure."

Tomlin said he won't be patient with himself and his team in Pittsburgh.

"I'm an impatient person by nature," he said. "I don't try to put a schedule on anything I do. I want it and I want it yesterday. That's just how I'm wired, and this situation, this opportunity, is no different than any other I've had," Tomlin said.

Somewhat surprisingly, Tomlin hasn't talked with former Steelers coach Bill Cowher.


The Wonderlic was re-emphasized publicly last year with reports of Vince Young's poor showing.

Tomlin said he doesn't place much emphasis in the Wonderlic results, and one former NFL scout said simply randomly marking answers should yield a double-digit score.

For Tomlin it's a matter of the Wonderlic not being a useful test for football players, he said.

"Personally, I've never been a Wonderlic guy. That's just me. It doesn't measure football intelligence. You don't know the background, the way guys have prepared for the test and all that," Tomlin said. "You've got to go based on your interactions with people and what you see on tape. The Wonderlic is a form of measurement and it's just one form of measurement. You can't put too much stock into it, in my opinion. I think it's a combination of all of the above that you need to use in terms of evaluating a player.

"… It doesn't tell the complete story a lot of times. There are countless examples of that."

Bills head coach Dick Jauron said the Wonderlic test is a tool to use, but not the only tool.

"It's like the vertical jump, the 40-yard dash. It's one of many things that we take in consideration," Jauron said. "I would say in terms of weight, I don't know if I would weigh it any more or any less than anything else."

Houston Texans coach also downplayed the importance the of the test relative to other tests run at the Combine and pro days.

"The Wonderlic test is what it is. They take the test, you look at the
score. Sometimes it causes you to maybe go back and check up on some things about this player that maybe you would have moved on from maybe had you not seen that score," Kubiak said. "But is it a difference in where they are drafted, how they perform and what types of careers they have? I don't think so. Many great players didn't have the greatest scores. And I played with some that are very sharp football players that had great careers. I think it's just another piece of the puzzle that we all have to look at.


The good news for Vikings fans is that one of their positions of greatest need – wide receiver – is a draft position that at least one NFL coach sees as having some depth.

"It sure looks like there are some very good receivers out there," Kubiak said when asked for the draft's strongest position. "It looks like a very deep spot in the draft. And it looks like offensive tackle, from an offensive perspective, it looks like there's a good group.
We have a lot of work to do between now and then, but those two spots look pretty deep."


Kubiak is familiar with successful running backs from his days with the Denver Broncos, so his opinion on Oklahoma running back Adrian Peterson holds some weight.

"That's a tough evaluation because you study him as a junior, and you go back and look at him as a sophomore. He missed a lot of games this year (in 2006), but came back and played in the bowl game," Kubiak said. "So I take a look at that. He's an interesting guy I think for all of us to evaluate in the draft because you have to go back and look at the previous two seasons. We all know how good those were. But we've got to get those involved in the evaluation process."

Peterson could be available when the Vikings pick at No. 7.


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