Still no test to measure heart

The Vikings know full well how much the heart of a player can make the difference. Some players can have all the athletic ability while others just have the drive to succeed.

Of all the measurables tested at the Combine, one that isn't always tested is heart. Would you draft this player based on this analysis? What follows is an analysis of a defensive player from a previous draft from Pro Football Weekly, pointing out his positives and negatives.

Positives: Dominant Division I-AA player with outstanding production. High-motor, energetic player with good on-field leadership qualities. Frame to add and hold additional weight and move inside to defensive tackle. An excellent long snapper who consistently snaps under .72 seconds. Has NFL bloodlines.

Negatives: Lacks the initial quickness and burst to beat NFL offensive tackles. Lacks playing strength and bulk. Struggles to hold the point against the run. Not sudden or explosive. Big fish in a small pond. Limited drive in the weight room. Benchpressed 225 pounds only 13 times at the Combine.

Summary: Developmental prospect with the ability to long snap. Will have to gain additional weight and move inside. Off-the-field issues may hurt his position. Draftable in late rounds.

Again, would you want to draft this guy. PFW ranked him 19th among defensive ends, while Mel Kiper put him 18th – behind Kenechi Udeze, Will Smith, Darrion Scott, Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy, Shaun Phillips, Jason Babin, Bobby McCray and Bo Schobel to name a few.

That prospect? Jared Allen, who got taken in the fourth round by the Chiefs and became a Pro Bowler before coming to the Vikings. Sometimes even all the film study in the world can't measure heart and drive.

"The hardest part is, you have the talent right because there will be a guy, for example, that is a college free agent and why all the sudden is he in the Pro Bowl? If you thought he was going to be in the Pro Bowl, you sure as hell would have drafted him in the first round. But when he came out, maybe his size was too small or he's too slow," Vikings vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman said on Friday. "I wish someone would invent a machine that you could put on a guy's heart and say, ‘What's this guy ticking inside.' We do our due diligence with all our testing and stuff just to try to get an indicator, but that part you can't measure. There are always guys that are late-round picks that end up being great players and there are always first-round picks that end up being busts. … Sometimes it doesn't have anything to do with what you're seeing on the field; it has to do with all the other intangibles that you're seeing along with it."

By the way, the NFL bloodlines comment in Allen's predraft analysis concerned his father Ron, who played two years with the Vikings.


  • The Vikings will find out their 2009 schedule tomorrow when the dates are filled in. There continues to be a strong sentiment that the Vikings will get three prime-time games during the 2009 season.

  • The stock of wide receiver Percy Harvin continues to take a hit, as reports are surfacing saying that, aside from off-field issues, he failed his drug test at the Combine. In the latest VU mock draft to be released soon, we have dropped Harvin to the very end of the first round after having him going to the Vikings in the previous incarnation of the mock.

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