A QB prospect to watch

The Vikings are likely keeping their options open at the quarterback position, but they are also expected to be watching a potential draft prospect in action this weekend.

While the Vikings work on their playoff positioning for this year, the scouting department continues to make trips around the country in search of future talent.

One of those prospects is playing Friday night, and Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman is scheduled to be on hand for the game between Ball State and Buffalo, according to Scout.com draft analyst Chris Steuber.

QB Nate Davis (Ball State) is a junior and, according to Steuber, still weighing his options about playing his senior year at Ball State or declaring himself eligible for the 2009 NFL Draft. If he would declare for the draft, Steuber projects Davis to be a late first- or early second-round pick at this early stage of the evaluations.

The Vikings won't be the only team in attendance Friday night. Scouts and high-ranking officials within the personnel departments from the Chicago Bears, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers are also expected to attend the game, Steuber reports.

Other draft prospects playing for Ball State are OLBs Bryant Haines and Kenny Meeks, CBs B.J. Hills and Trey Lewis, SS Alex Knipp (junior), QB Nate Davis (junior), RB MiQaule Lewis (junior), TE Darius Hill, OT Robert Brewster and P Chris Miller.

For Buffalo, QB Drew Willy, RB James Starks (junior) and WR Naaman Roosevelt (junior) are players to watch.

Davis, however, is the key player to evaluate with the Vikings' uncertain outlook at the position. The Vikings have drafted three quarterbacks in the last three drafts.

Last year, they selected USC's John David Booty in the fifth round and he remains the team's third-string QB.

In 2007, they drafted Coastal Carolina's Tyler Thigpen in the seventh round. After trying to slip him through waivers and onto the practice squad before the start of the 2007 regular season, Thigpen was claimed by the Kansas City Chiefs and is now their starter.

In 2006, the Vikings drafted Alabama State's Tarvaris Jackson with the last pick in the second round. After starting most of 2007 and the first two games of 2008, Jackson was supplanted in the starting lineup by Gus Frerotte. Jackson is now the backup.

Here is Steuber's analysis on Davis:

Strengths: Davis is a smooth, intelligent pocket passer who has a great feel for the game. He sets up quickly in the pocket, shows poise and delivers a strong, accurate ball to his receivers. He has the ability to escape the pocket and make plays on the run; buys time for his receivers. He possesses excellent vision and displays great touch leading receivers downfield and over the middle. He's strong under center and in the shotgun and uses his pump fake and play action to his advantage. He's an outstanding leader and is confident in his abilities on the field.

Weaknesses: He lacks prototypical size. He has to work on his mechanics and footwork. He doesn't have elite mobility and isn't much of a threat as a runner. He has to work through his progressions consistently.


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