NFL teams are allowed to interview up to 60 prospects at the Combine in 15-minute increments, and most of the time the players are only told a hotel room number and time to be there, with no indication of which team will be interviewing them during that time.
The surprise aspect of the interview process is an intriguing part in scouting college players.
"Obviously, there are kids that handle it better than other kids, but that's part of the process too," Childress said. "It's always fun to see them at the beginning and then see them at their campus visit a month from now or three weeks from now after they've been through the process. It's fun to see them at the Senior Bowl – I think we interviewed 90 of them at the Senior Bowl – to see them now and see them two or three weeks from now."
Childress admitted that players are coached by agents and others experts on how to present themselves in media and team interviews, and that aspect of it shows when most of the tight ends that come through the media room talk about be well-rounded they are, nearly as good at blocking as receiving.
"They are relatively rehearsed, most of them, but you have certain things that you're trying to get to and you have to be able to find certain ways, workarounds, to get that (information) to you," Childress said of the team's interviews.
Still, it is part of teams' jobs to weed through more than 1,000 prospects – 327 of them that were invited to the Combine – and decide which ones fit the mold and needs of the team before making their selections through seven rounds and two days of drafting at the end of April.
Sometimes, all that information is trumped by a Combine performance that rockets a player's stock up the draft charts, and other times the scouting process can yield a little-known prospect that turns out to be a gem in the bunch. At times, those finds come in the draft's second day.
"(The second day) is huge because a lot of times it's the area scout that's turned over the rocks to find a guy to feel like he can present that's a diamond in the rough that maybe has skills and ability – maybe he was a little undersized, maybe he was hurt in his senior year, maybe he was from a smaller college, some guys that wouldn't ordinarily say would line up," Childress said. "Those are finds, and I don't always think it's just a lucky find. A lot of times you get somebody jumping up on the table and saying, ‘No, we need that guy. That's the guy we've got to have.' You find out about guys' convictions in terms of how they feel about players."
Whether or not the Vikings find a day-two gem or an undrafted rookie free agent that turns out to be a Pro Bowl player like John Randle remains to be seen, but the possibilities are seemingly endless – or at least in the thousands.