Vikings to Visit with Safety

The Vikings are schedule to meet with a safety prospect that is carrying a later-round grade, an interesting tale of injury and the spirit of perseverance.

The Vikings signed Madieu Williams to a long-term, big-dollar contract at the outset of free agency and added Michael Boulware for veteran depth last week. But that isn't stopping the team from finding out more about some of the safeties in the 2008 NFL Draft.

The team has scheduled a visit with West Virginia's Ryan Mundy, according to what the free safety told Scout.com's Adam Caplan during a recent interview on Sirius NFL Radio.

Mundy began his collegiate career at the University of Michigan before transferring to West Virginia for his senior season. He became a solid contributor to a team that went 11-2, including the playoffs, while registering 62 tackles and three interceptions.

He is considered a smart player, an assessment that former NFL scout Tom Marino agrees with in his assessment of Mundy for Scout.com.

"Is a very mature, smart and instinctive player," Marino writes in his evaluation. "Makes all the back-end calls and adjustments. Reads the run quickly, comes up under control and makes plays – not a head hunter, but more-than-adequate tackler. In zone, covered ground and showed good awareness and ball skills. Marginal man cover skills. Impressive in bowl victory vs. Oklahoma. If medically sound, has a chance to factor."

His medical report could be one of the reasons the Vikings want to visit with Mundy. While at Michigan, he suffered a serious nerve injury between his shoulder and neck and had a long road to recovery.

"There wasn't a time when they said I would never play again," Mundy told Go Blue Wolverine magazine after recovering from the injury that occurred during a tackling drill in practice. "They did say that if it kept happening that we may have to reconsider my playing career."

That didn't happen. Instead, he continued to rehab the injury and eventually gained back full strength after much research and rehabilitation.

Now he finds himself projected to be a late-round draft pick.

"Mundy is a strong defender who plays with excellent awareness. He has a lot of range in the secondary and plays well in coverage. He takes good angles and displays outstanding ball skills," wrote Scout.com NFL draft analyst Chris Steuber in December. "He has good timing and adjusts well to errant throws. He has a solid burst and great instincts. He's an aggressive player who will fill a gap and is strong in run defense. … He's taken advantage of his fifth year and has really displayed excellent defensive skills with the Mountaineers. He's a leader in the secondary and will be an immediate contributor on special teams at the next level."

That's a lot better diagnosis for his future playing career than the uncertain one he was facing only two years ago after suffering his injury.

"It happened in a tackling drill early last camp," Mundy told the magazine two years ago. "I felt this sweeping sensation down in my whole left arm. It was the most unbearable pain I have ever had in my life. I really lost a significant amount of strength. That is why I thought it would be the best for me and my team if I did not go out there and play with one arm. The other players got the job done better with two arms than I could with one arm."

Mundy's father Greg exhausted every possible measure to ensure his son's health first, and his playing career second.

"From what I was telling (a medical specialist), my son had the most severe form (of that injury)," Greg told Go Blue Wolverine. "He was explaining to me that people keep saying shoulder, but it wasn't so much the shoulder. It was the trapezius muscle. It was between the shoulder and the neck that the injury actually occurred … where the nerves connect through your arm, trap and neck. He said imagine a train going through a tunnel. The train is going through, but it's just a little too big for the tunnel and it keeps bumping the top. That interrupts that nerve impulse. What you have to do is make that tunnel bigger by increasing the size of your traps by muscling it up and giving it more support. With more muscle around it, you're protected more. You are going to get beat up, obviously, but you give yourself more of a fighting chance if you secure that nerve with more musculature. I learned so much about it, it was just incredible. I felt more comfortable knowing that he didn't have to have surgery. It was more 'You have to wait it out, you have to be patient, and you have to make sure you are training your traps.' I think during the time off, his neck and everything really got more stable in that area. You just have to be patient. You can't rush. Just work hard it will be OK."

"I didn't want him to focus on getting well fast," Greg said. "I wanted him to focus on getting well right. You have to be well right to perform at 100 percent. You could be well in the sense that you can go out there and do it, but could you perform at the level that you had to? You can go out there at 85 percent, but that isn't going to make it."

After a solid senior season at West Virginia, Ryan Mundy has a chance to make in the NFL and the Vikings are apparently interested the possibilities he offers.


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