The Vikings' need at defensive end is no secret. The sad news of Kenechi Udeze's diagnosis of leukemia and Erasmus James' continued knee surgeries are likely to lead to the team signing at least one more defensive end before training camp.
One possibility is Hampton's Kendall Langford, who is expected to be drafted anywhere from the second round to the middle rounds of the 2008 NFL Draft on April 26-27.
One month before that, March 27 to be exact, Langford will visit with the Vikings, according to his agent Adisa P. Bakari.
Viking Update first reported the team's interest in Langford in early February after the team was spotted interviewing him at the Senior Bowl. Vikings defensive line coach Karl Dunbar also coached Langford in the East-West Shrine game "and thinks a lot of him," according to Bakari.
Langford also has visits set up with the Steelers and Dolphins. He also had a private workout with the Detroit Lions, along with another one today with the St. Louis Rams. Bakari said in an e-mail to Viking Update that 16 teams attended Langford's pro day on Thursday, including eight defensive line coaches.
"Kendall is a guy that most casual football fans may not have heard of, similar to his former teammate, Justin Durant," Bakari said. "As you may recall, Durant was the 48th overall pick in last year's draft. Kendall will likely be picked around the same area."
Durant went on to have a solid rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars, as the outside linebacker played in 13 games, starting eight, and registered 49 tackles.
The issue with Langford entering the offseason was likely the quality of opponents he faced and how that might translate into the NFL. In 2007 with Division I-AA Hampton, he had 12 quarterback pressures, six sacks and 13 tackles-for-loss. That was done over an 11-game period, and he has started every game since the beginning of his sophomore season.
Bakari said he believes Langford has answered those questions with his performances at the all-star games.
"Kendall proved in the East West and Senior Bowl games that ‘level of competition' is not a concern," he said. "Because of the dearth of 3-4 defensive ends, and 4-3 power ends in this draft, he won't stick around long."
The opinions on Langford vary. Bakari believes many teams have a third-round grade on him but that some team could use a second-rounder to draft him.
Tom Marino, Scout.com's former NFL scout, said Langford shows quickness of the ball but does not play with a lot of power. Marino's evaluation says Langford plays with high energy but can tend to run out of gas as the game wears on.
Bakari said Langford is a "power" end, meaning the 6-foot-5 ½, 287-pounder would likely be a base left end in the Vikings' 4-3 scheme – the position held by Udeze last year.
Defensive End Visiting Next Week
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