Nicks joins the receiver parade

Wide receiver Hakeem Nicks is joining a group of college receivers that will be visiting the Vikings' Winter Park facility next week. Find out more about the skilled receiver and see who he compares himself to.

The Vikings will have at least four wide receivers at Winter Park next week, and that's not even part of their offseason conditioning program.

North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks joins four other receivers in's top seven-ranked receiver prospects among the crew of college wide receivers the Vikings have either worked out or will have to their facility for a visit next week. Nicks' visit was first reported by Wednesday and confirmed by Viking Update.

Nicks joins Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt and Juaquin Iglesias as visitors, and the Vikings reportedly scheduled a workout with Percy Harvin.

Nicks isn't known for his speed like Maclin or Heyward-Bey, but might be one of the more polished receivers in the draft.

"Nicks is a consistent pass catcher who has reliable hands. He lacks elite speed, but is quick and makes plays downfield," draft analyst wrote in his evaluation of Nicks. "He gets a fluid release off the line, is physical through routes and has the ability to make a difficult reception. He offers the quarterback a nice target and comes back to the ball consistently. He's a tough runner after the catch and doesn't go down easily. He's a complete receiver."

Nicks said at the NFL Scouting Combine that he was working on his speed, but a left knee injury hampered some of his training this offseason and he reportedly gained 14 pounds between the combine and his pro day. He has since taken much of that off.

Nicks is known for his hands, and he was asked about one of the best catches of the year from his bowl game against West Virginia, when he caught a ball thrown behind him with one hand and had to go around his back with the other to corral it (the YouTube clip of it is below).

"I catch a lot of crazy passes all the time, but I don't think I've ever topped that one. I just kind of caught it with my left hand and took it around my back, just off of instinct," said Nicks, who compared his game Anquan Boldin. "I watched it a couple of times. It kind of shocked me, but I'm a receiver and that's my job to catch the ball."

Those skills translated into 68 receptions for 1,222 yards and 12 touchdowns for North Carolina in 2008, including three touchdowns in that bowl game. He credited that game with influencing his decision to declare himself eligible for the NFL draft after his junior season.

"I think it influenced it a lot because it was on national TV and a lot of people didn't really know about me. That was the chance for me to finally do what I had to do in front of the national attention," he said.

He also drew the attention of the Vikings at the combine and interviewed with them there. The team tends to concentrate on juniors at the combine and interview seniors more at the all-star game.

As a junior, Nicks didn't participate in those all-star games, but NFL teams have become intimately familiar with his film over the last several months. His route-running is often referenced as one of his better assets, a skill he learned in high school from a wide receivers coach, Steve Shipp, who played at Florida.

Even so, with a highlight reel of great catches, his hands will be associated as his best receiver attribute.

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