The Vikings are conducting most of their league-allotted 30 predraft visits with college prospects on Wednesday and Thursday. Some of those that received invitations from the Vikings could have conflicts with previously scheduled private workouts or visits, in which case the team could bring them to Winter Park on a different date.
"This is a little different than college recruitment. They're not trying to decide where they're going, we're trying to decide where they're going," Childress said Wednesday in between talking with some of his current players and preparing to speak individually with those visiting draft prospects. "Any time you can learn more things, it's no different than getting out a Kelly Blue Book or looking up and seeing what is this product that I'm about to buy? The more you can know about it, the better off you are."
While someone from the Vikings– whether it was a scout or VP of player personnel Rick Spielman at an all-star game or a coach interviewing them at a pro day or the NFL Scouting Combine – has already spoken with most of those visiting, this is a chance for a number of different employees to interact with the prospects and get a feel for their personality and their actions within a social setting.
The players will interview with position coaches and Childress, as well undergo any remaining medical tests that the team has on them, in addition to having dinner as a group on Wednesday.
"You really evaluate them in all settings, whether they are walking up and down the stairs or they're meeting with the doctors over at Tria (the Vikings' medical partner) or in here tonight or in my office. We always say it's always easy to put your best foot forward in a 24-hour job interview," Childress said.
While the team's college scouting department has been evaluating many of these players for the last season or two, their interaction really starts in January at college all-star games like the East-West Shrine game or the Senior Bowl. The Vikings spoke with nearly every player at the Senior Bowl and interviewed many of the juniors (and seniors not at the Senior Bowl) at the combine in February. After that, it was off to college pro days on the players' campus, as well as any private workouts the team wanted to schedule.
"We've talked to and seen some more than others, by virtue of them having been at the Senior Bowl. Obviously, our scouts have been at all the bowl games. We've sat down with 60 of them at Indianapolis," Childress said. "Some are re-dos. Some we had another question. Some we just wanted to familiarize ourselves a little bit more with. Specifically, it gives our coaches a chance, it gives our scouts a chance – it gives them a chance to see us. I'll get a chance to sit with every one of those guys in a one-on-one setting in my office and just tell them what expectations are, whether they're here or whether they're looking from afar."
While the team is in its first week of the offseason training program for its current players and conducting the majority of their predraft visits, Childress said they are still keeping an eye on some aspects of free agency. Most likely, the Vikings would wait to make any further moves until after the draft, but, just in case, they are monitoring the waiver wire.
"There's not a day that, first of all, we're not looking at the waiver wire or evaluating what's out there, like a street free agent or a restricted free agent. We've got up to a couple days from now to look at those. All the scouts that are in are primarily focused on the draft right now. We're always looking globally," he said.
For Wednesday and Thursday, however, the draft prospects are the focus.