The Vikings would appear to be set at the tight end position for at least a few years, but that isn't stopping them from investigating their options at the position in the 2009 NFL Draft.
Boston College tight end Ryan Purvis will be among the nearly 30 visitors to Winter Park in early April for a predraft visit, according to Scout.com's Ed Thompson. For the past two years the team has brought in its predraft visitors all in one day to meet coaches and staff, have dinner as a group and see how they interact with others.
The Vikings have already secured their top two tight ends for the next three years. Blocking tight Jim Kleinsasser signed a three-year, $9 million deal on Feb. 28, and Visanthe Shiancoe, who had a breakout season in 2008, signed a five-year, $18.2 million contract during free agency in 2007. The team also has Garrett Mills and tight end/fullback Jeff Dugan on the roster.
Adding Purvis to the mix would inject some youth into the position. He is likely a mid- to late-round draft pick. He is the eighth-rated tight end on Scout.com's draft list and 115th overall.
Purvis only caught 24 passes for 176 yards during his senior season at Boston College, but it was during his junior season that he really made an impression. Of course, that is when he had Matt Ryan, the 2008 NFL rookie sensation of the Atlanta Falcons, throwing the ball to him. In 2007, Purvis had 54 receptions for 553 yards and four touchdowns.
Purvis has good size for the position – he measured in at almost 6-foot-4 and 254 pounds at Boston College's pro day on March 14, when he ran two 40-yard dashes, each in 4.95 seconds, according to NFL.com. He isn't known for his speed or being a deep threat that will stretch the middle of the field in classic tight end style for the West Coast offense.
He has been a starter for the Eagles since his freshman season, but his senior year was the least productive of his last three. As a sophomore, he caught 29 passes for 380 yards (13.1-yard average) and two touchdowns. Then came his breakout junior season with Ryan before his production dropped off to 24 catches for 176 yards (7.3-yard average) and no touchdowns last year.
NFLDraftScout.com breaks down Purvis' strengths and weaknesses like this:
Positives: Classic size for the position. Good lateral quickness to escape the jam and accelerates smoothly. Improved as a blocker in 2008. Surprisingly quick to the second level as a run blocker and gives good effort. Flashes lateral quickness as a run blocker and to get off the jam. Secure receiver. Looks the ball into his hands and quickly secures it. Quick to look upfield to generate positive yardage. Fights for extra yardage. Knows where the holes in zone coverage are and has the size and reliable receiving skills to settle there and be a security blanket.
Negatives: Production dropped dramatically without QB Matt Ryan in 2008. Only marginal initial burst off the snap as a receiving outlet. Flashes lateral quickness to gain separation, but has to rely on sharp route-running due to a lack of explosiveness. Marginal straight-line speed to challenge the seam. Lacks pop and the strength to sustain as an in-line blocker. Lacks athletic upside and might be a finished product.
Vikings investigating all positions
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