Dan Mozes is one of 16 undrafted free agents who agreed to terms with the Vikings Sunday evening, and there seems to be good reason the team was interested in the West Virginia University product.
The 6-foot-2, 300-pounder brings "position flexibility" – a term embraced and oft-repeated by Vikings coach Brad Childress – as Mozes played center and guard and started nearly 50 games between the two positions in college. He moved from guard to center in during the 2005 season.
He was a two-time All-America selection and helped raise WVU to the fifth-ranked offense in the nation. That ranking was buoyed by the second-place ranking in rushing with just over 300 yards per game on the ground.
While six other centers were drafted over the weekend, Mozes, the Rimington Award winner (given to the nation's best center) was not. He was also a finalist for the Outland Trophy and a semifinalist for Lombardi Award in his senior year. The accolades started early for him, as he was a Freshman All-American and followed that up with being a three-time All-Big East selection. Like Purdue linebacker George Hall, another undrafted player who has agreed to terms with the Vikings, Mozes was also honored by his college team for his tenacity.
His first two-plus years as a starter were spent at guard, but his transition to center coincided with an improved offense and running attack at West Virginia even while Mozes battled through a number of injuries throughout his college career.
He didn't allow any sacks in 2006, according to NFLDraftScout.com, as part of an offense that gained 273 first downs and 63 touchdowns.
The knock against Mozes is his size and strength, but he is said to be a perfect fit for a zone-blocking team like the Vikings (the Broncos, another zone-blocking team, also offered him a free-agent contract, according to the Observer-Reporter).
According to Scout.com, Mozes is an "explosive position blocker who uses all his assets to their maximum. Quickly gets into blocks. Plays with good pad level and effectively uses angles. Keeps his feet moving, fluid in motion and redirects to linebackers. Effective with the shotgun snap."
NFLDraftScout.com compares him to Jeff Faine of the Saints and Tom Nalen of the Broncos, high praise for an undrafted player.
Mozes likely will battle with Anthony Herrera and Norm Katnik as Matt Birk's primary backup. Herrera, a 2005 undrafted free agent, has been used more as a guard, but has worked in practices at center over the past two seasons. Katnik spent time on the Vikings' practice squad last year.
New OL Brings Awards, Tenacity
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