Five rookie free agents to watch
QB Kyle Wright (6-3 ½, 218, 4.84) Miami, Fla. - A potential diamond-in-the-rough prospect who endured a continual changing of the guard on the coaching staff in college and never really became comfortable with the system. Wright has nice size, solid character, intelligence and good physical tools. He possesses a strong arm and can throw all the passes. He lacks consistency and poise at times but has more than enough tools worth developing. The Vikings connected on Tyler Thigpen late in the draft last year, but weren't able to slip him through waivers to the practice squad. Wright could be a very nice developmental quarterback for the practice squad ... if they can get him there.
WR Darius Reynaud (5-9 ½, 203, 4.52) West Virginia - He caught 64 passes for 733 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2007 with the Mountaineers. Reynaud has the look of a very effective slot receiver with some big-play ability, open-field running skills and kick return ability. He is quick and elusive in the open field, catches the ball well and shows good hands. He lacks top height and needs some work on his pass routes, but if he shows something as a returner, veteran receivers coach George Stewart can work out the finer points with the rest of his game as a receiver.
OL Drew Radovich (6-4 ½, 312, 5.35) Southern California - The fact that the Vikings signed Radovich to a three-year deal with a $23,000 signing bonus tells you how badly they wanted him in the mix for a backup spot on their offensive line. Radovich was a four-year letterman and two-year starter for the Trojans who started at left guard in 2006 and right tackle in 2007. He needs to really dedicate himself in the weight room but was very productive at a major level of competition and has good long-range potential if he's willing to pay the price. He doesn't necessarily look the part, but he grades out well and generally gets the job done. Depending on how well he adapts in training camp, Radovich could legitimately push for a backup spot on the offensive line and might even have enough upside potential to eventually start at right guard or tackle.
DE Martail Burnett (6-3, 262, 4.82) Utah - He is perhaps the biggest "sleeper" among the team's undrafted free agent crop. Burnett might be even better than simply a practice-squad prospect. He has the frame to get bigger, long arms, good movement skills and leaping ability (38 ½-inch vertical jump, 10'7" broad jump). He has some raw, physical tools and will need a lot of patient coaching and improved strength (only 16 reps). But he is a hard-working prospect who makes a lot of plays up the field. With Karl Dunbar as his position coach, he could blossom.
LB Erin Henderson (6-3, 244, 4.75) Maryland - The younger brother of middle linebacker E.J. Henderson, Erin is an enigmatic prospect who surprisingly went undrafted. He is a good, but not great, open-field athlete with all the measurables to become a starter in the NFL. However, he needs to be in a scheme that plays to his strengths, and the Cover-2 the Vikings deploy could be the right fit. He might need to earn his stripes on special teams to start with and become more consistent, but he could eventually thrive under the coaching of Fred Pagac in Minnesota's system.
Tuesday Morning Audibles:
Mike Wobschall reports on the official team site as OTAs get underway at Winter Park.
Birk's agent, Joe Linta, insists that Birk "has great respect for coach (Brad) Childress and the integrity that he brings to the organization."
Vikings Hall-of-Famer Alan Page made a Top 10 list of best defensive linemen in NFL history, checking in at No. 9.
Here's a nice story on the father of former Vikings wide receiver Leo Lewis, who is enshrined in the Canadian Football Hall of Fame.
Carl Eller has a trial date set as he faces felony charges
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