Defensive tackle joins the visit list

The Vikings are bringing a first-day defensive tackle into the mix as part of their mass predraft visit.

With two Pro Bowl defensive tackles under contract for 2009 and beyond, it would appear that the Vikings have little need for a top-notch defensive tackle in this year's draft. That, however, isn't stopping the team from bringing in for a visit one of the top defensive tackles in this year's draft.

Missouri's Evander Hood is scheduled to visit the Vikings on April 8, according to Scout.com's Chris Steuber. About a half dozen other draft prospects, most of them considered first- or second-round picks, are also scheduled to visit on April 8-9 as part of the team's mass predraft visit. The team is allowed to have up to 30 prospects visit the facility.

Hood is considering a late first-round value, according to numerous draft sites, including the grade that Steuber has placed on him. The Vikings have selections at Nos. 22 and 54 in the first two rounds, but it's uncertain if they would spend a first-round pick at a position where Pro Bowlers Pat Williams and Kevin Williams have made their mark on the league's quarterbacks and running backs. Hood would likely be gone by the 54th pick in the draft. He is the third-rated defensive tackle – behind B.J. Raji and Jerry Peria – according to Steuber.

"Hood is a solid defender who plays with a high motor. He has great size and quickness, and plays with leverage. He's fast off the line, blades through the gap and quickly locates the ball carrier," Steuber writes in his analysis of Hood. "He's physical at the point of attack and holds his own against bigger opponents and double teams. He's a durable, reliable defender who demonstrates great toughness in the trenches. He has to play lower and tends to be nonexistent against the run."

Hood ended his college career with 165 tackles and 15 sacks and started 32 of 48 career games. He was named All-Big 12 honorable mention in 2007, but his numbers were down a bit in 2008, when he registered 23 tackles (2.5 of them for losses) and 1.5 sacks.

As a captain for the Tigers last year, Hood was disappointed with Missouri's 10-4 record.

"Certain things we let go. … As far as being a team captain, I should have (taken) better steps as far as preparing the team. I take the blame for that," he said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "We should have done a whole lot better as a team. We let a couple of games slip away. We finished the season 10-4 and I can't complain with a bowl win at the end."

Hood, nicknamed "Ziggy" by his grandmother, has learned to be a versatile player. In high school, he was a stand-up defensive end, and he says some teams are looking at his versatility. However, he said adjusting to the quickness required outside would be a challenge. He seems to be more productive inside, mixing it up in the trenches.

"I learned different moves, different steps from the coaches and those who played ahead of me," he said of garnering 15 sacks as an interior defensive lineman. "Different moves, different steps, some I knew from high school, but I never had to put my hand down in high school until I came to Missouri. I was a standup defensive end in high school."

Now he's hoping he can be a first-round draft pick in the NFL and go from there.


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