Vikings to Visit with DE

The Vikings are scheduled to visit with an intriguing defensive end prospect, but he's not considered one of the top players at his position in the 2008 NFL Draft. Find out more inside.

The Minnesota Vikings are scheduled to have a predraft visit with defensive end Jason Jones in the coming weeks, according to Adam Caplan of

Jones is an intriguing prospect who has risen from small-school obscurity at Eastern Michigan to put himself on the radar of NFL teams, but his raw skills may keep him from being an immediate contributor in his rookie year.

"Is a former tight end who was moved to a defensive tackle position at the midpoint of the 2004 season," wrote former NFL scout Tom Marino in his evaluation of Jones for "Looks like a basketball player. Needs to play outside. Is a very raw player who had a tendency to get his pads up off the go. Limited use of hands to shed – gets stuck on blocks. Has skills and was not out of place at the Senior Bowl workouts, but is no better than a developmental player at this time."

Jones' performance at the Senior Bowl has others expecting him to be a potential mid- or late-round pick. It was in that Mobile, Ala., all-star game that Jones had a sack and a forced fumble.

"Jones had a promising week at the Under Armour Senior Bowl," NFL draft analyst Chris Steuber wrote after that game. "He displayed a lot of skills and showed that he can rush the passer. He gets a good jump off the line and tries to force his way around the end. During the game, Jones showed good quickness and used his hands effectively. He got in the backfield a lot and made his presence felt. His pressure against Andre Woodson forced Woodson into throwing an interception. He also played well against the run.

"Jones is an intriguing prospect who has the ability to be an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He's a guy who's on the rise and will continue to draw interest as the draft nears."

At 6-foot-5 and 273 pounds, Jones is expected to stay at defensive end in the NFL, especially if he were to be drafted by a team running a 4-3 defense like the Vikings employ. Of course, the Vikings do have a need at end after Kenechi Udeze's diagnosis of leukemia in January and Erasmus James' recovery from his third knee surgery in a one-year time frame.

In the past three years, Jones has garnered more than 50 tackles-for-loss with the Eagles, but his ability to transfer his explosiveness from the ranks of Eastern Michigan to the NFL will be the biggest question mark surrounding him.

"He's a hardworking defender who excels at making plays behind the line of scrimmage," Steuber wrote in December. "In 2006, he finished fifth nationally in tackles for a loss with 18.5, and this season he eclipsed last year's total in that category collecting 19.5. He has outstanding speed (4.65-second 40-time) for a player of his size and is a force off the edge. In addition to his 19.5 TFL, Jones recorded 70 tackles and 3.5 sacks."

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