Senior Bowl WR Gets Vikings' Attention

The Vikings were spotted talking with a receiver at the recent Senior Bowl, but he will have a number of questions to answer for NFL teams when he reappears at the NFL Scouting Combine later this month.

At the Senior Bowl, the Vikings were talking with an offensive playmaker who has a big red flag, but that should come as no surprise after the Vikings drafted Adrian Peterson last year. Concerns about Peterson's collarbone arose in his junior season at Oklahoma when he initially injured it, and then resurfaced when he reinjured it in his bowl game. That was followed by months of speculation centering on if he would need surgery and, if so, how long he would be out of action.

Wide receiver Limas Sweed from Peterson's college rival Texas Longhorns can appreciate what Peterson went through. Sweed's senior season was cut short when he injured his wrist in October, an injury that needed surgery and ended his season after climbing to No. 2 on the Longhorns' all-time list for receiving touchdowns.

"I knew it was an injury I would be dealing with going into the season and I did everything I could to play through the pain and help the team," Sweed told the Associated Press in October. "I've aggravated it a couple of times … and have probably been in more pain than I let anybody know."

Sweed tried to participate in the Senior Bowl in late January, but he re-aggravated the wrist early in the week of practices. He sat out the second half of the week and didn't participate in the college all-star game that weekend.

Still, while Sweed's draft alert for his recurring wrist injury grew larger, he probably earned the respect of NFL talent evaluators by staying in Mobile, Ala., for several days to conduct interviews with scouts. The Vikings were one of the teams spotted speaking with him.

Sweed tied the University of Texas record with 12 touchdowns as a junior in 2006 and had started 39 consecutive games before his wrist finally sidelined him. He missed the final seven games of the Longhorns' 2007 season but finished his shortened senior season with 19 catches and three touchdowns in six games.

During his junior season – the most productive of his career – he had 46 receptions for 801 yards (a 17.4-yard average) and 12 touchdowns. He was an All-Big 12 selection that year and was a preseason pick for that honor before his wrist took him out of action.

Sweed was advised not to participate in the Senior Bowl after having his cast removed only a week before the Senior Bowl practices started, according to the Fort Worth Star Telegram. Before his wrist was bent back by a cornerback during one-on-one-drills at the Senior Bowl, he was beginning to impress scouts with his height, hands and even some quickness they weren't sure he had.

He is a big target somewhere around 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-5 and about 215 pounds. He jumps well to get the ball in the air before the defender has a chance at it. He has good body control and catches the ball nicely in traffic. He doesn't seem to mind catching the ball in a crowd or over the top, but he lacked the consistent ability to get separation from cornerbacks and his 40-yard dash time at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis later this month could determined whether he is drafted in the first or second round.

In some ways, he is similar to the Vikings' 2007 second-round draft choice Sidney Rice – height, body control and good hands, but with questions about his speed. For now, however, another key portion of the Combine will be his medical evaluation, just like it was for Peterson.


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