First-day CB among Vikings' visits

The Vikings' interest in upgrading at the cornerback position didn't stop after re-signing Charles Gordon and Benny Sapp, and signing free agent Karl Paymah. The team is still looking at draft prospects and will be visiting with a first-day cornerback prospect soon as part of its continuing interest in him. Who is he and what kind of skills does he possess? Details and analysis inside.

The Vikings have apparently been following the skills of Darius Butler throughout the last several months. At the Senior Bowl, Viking Update was told that the team had representatives at the University of Connecticut during at least one 2008 home game.

"Our coaches kind of kept that away from us. A lot of guys have come up to me and said they came to a couple of games," Butler said at the Senior Bowl.

Since then, however, Butler has mentioned the Vikings as being one of a handful of teams that have shown the most interest in him. That interest continues, as Butler is scheduled to be among the Vikings' predraft visitors, according to a league source.

Butler was a four-year starter at Connecticut, but he did miss two games last year because of a knee injury. He also played some wide receiver and was a returner as well.

"Butler is a tremendously versatile player who's a quality defender and return specialist. He has good ball skills and is extremely instinctive in the secondary," wrote Scout.com NFL draft analyst Chris Steuber in his analysis of Butler. "He's physical and fluid in coverage and positions himself well to break up the throw. He has great vision and is elusive with the ball in his hands. He has good size but struggles against taller, physical receivers. He has to improve his initial quickness and not allow the opposition to gain positioning on routes."

Steuber projects Butler to be a second-round pick, but Butler has been projected as a late first-round pick in some analysts' opinions. The Vikings hold the 22nd overall pick on April 25.

As a cornerback, Butler amassed 180 tackles and 19 passes defensed with 10 interceptions – none of those interceptions coming in his senior season, when he wasn't challenged as often. In fact, his tackles in his senior season were also the lowest of his final three years because of offenses avoiding him more often, but his overall athletic ability is simply impressive.

He registered a 43-inch vertical jump at the NFL Scouting Combine, best among those participating, and ran a 4.41-second 40-yard dash. He also topped the cornerback class at the combine with an 11-2 broad jump.

"Athleticism, closing on the ball and making plays on the ball – speed. There are just a lot of things I think I can do well," he said.

Butler can be seen doing it all – defending the run, the pass, catching passes and even taking an end-around – in this YouTube video:




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