Scout's Notebook: C Juan Garcia

John Sullivan is the front-runner to take over the starting center job, but a backup spot behind him is wide open. Undrafted rookie free agent Juan Garcia is in the mix of those battling for a spot. Find out more right here.

#67, Juan Garcia, C
(6022, 297, 5.28-5.44) Washington

Notes: Born 4/24/84. Mother's name is Maricela Alcala. Attended Eisenhower High School in Yakima, Wash. Big-9 offensive lineman of the year; earned all-Big 9 honors on offense and defense as a senior and was named to the Associated Press all-state team. Listed as a "Red Chip" recruit by the Seattle Times, rated the No. 10 player in Washington by SuperPrep and named to PrepStar's All-West Region team. Used to run with a gang when he was younger as documented in this story.

College: Despite injury problems throughout his Huskies career, Garcia started 37 consecutive games from 2006-08, earning second-team All-Pac 10 honors in 2007 and honorable mention status as a senior. Redshirted as a freshman in 2003. Missed the entire 2004 campaign after suffering a severely dislocated left ankle and broken left fibula during spring drills in 2004. Then missed all of 2005 with a torn labrum. Finally saw the playing field in 2006, earning UW's Academic Excellence Award at the team's postseason banquet while starting all 12 at center and playing every snap of the 2006 season as part of an offensive line that allowed just 19 sacks over 12 games. Earned second-team All-Pac 10 in 2007 and was named the John P. Angel Lineman of the Year on offense at the team's postseason awards banquet. Granted an extra year of eligibility by the NCAA, he missed most of spring 2008 with a left Lisfranc sprain that was characterized at the time as potentially career-ending. He elected not to have the surgery and instead play through the pain, starting all 13 games at center and winning the John P. Angel Lineman of the Year award at the team's postseason banquet for the second straight season. Was a team captain as a junior and senior. Graduated in 2008 with a degree in American Ethnic Studies.

Pre-Draft: Put up 34 reps at 225 pounds; posted a 1.84 10-yard dash, 3.02 20-yard dash, 5.28-5.44 40-yard dash, 25-inch vertical jump, 7-foot-9 broad jump, 4.87 short shuttle and 8.00 three-cone drill. Arm length measured 33 inches and hands were 9.9 inches. Played as heavy as 330 pounds as a senior, but checked in at 295 for his campus workout, where he ran 5.28 and 5.29 in the 40-yard dash.

Pro: Invited to the Vikings' postdraft mini camp as a tryout player following the 2009 NFL Draft and was subsequently signed to a free-agent contract. Garcia was reportedly 12 pounds lighter at minicamp than he'd been at the Scouting Combine, and he impressed the coaches during workouts and with how well he picked up the Vikings' playbook. He was scheduled to work out with the Oakland Raiders the following week, but cancelled that visit upon signing with Minnesota. The New York Jets were also said to be serious about wanting to sign Garcia.

Positives: Has enough size, strength and physical tenacity to develop. Very tough, physical and aggressive. Very strong with good initial punch. Gets some movement into his blocks. Highly competitive. Plays with a nasty demeanor. Hard worker. Team leader-type. Adequate lateral quickness and can anchor on pass protection. Will play through pain. Shows good field awareness and natural instincts for the game. Plays to the limits of his ability.

Negatives: Has really struggled with a variety of injuries. A bit shorter than you'd prefer and is not a great natural athlete with limited foot quickness and agility. Is best in a confined area and struggles at times blocking in space. Needs to keep his weight in check or his athletic limitations will become exposed.

Summary: Has the tools to play in the NFL, but will need to remain healthy and be consistent enough to stick around. Has the type of temperament coaches love and could compete for a roster spot with the Vikings if he can just stay healthy.

What they said:

"They already had me highly-rated. Their only concern was my injuries. It worked out good. They told me that if I never had my injuries, I would have been drafted." - Garcia after signing with the Vikings

"I'm very grateful for the opportunity the Vikings have given me. I will do my best to take full advantage of this opportunity. This is just one step in fulfilling my childhood dream and that's why I'm very grateful to the Minnesota Vikings. I have short- and long-term goals I want to accomplish. In order for my long-term goals to be achieved I need to succeed with my short-term goals. Short-term goals right now are making the team and being as productive as I can be to help out the Minnesota Vikings be a more successful team." -Garcia to

"He's definitely a tough kid, but there are just too many red flags with him because of all the injuries he's had." - NFL scout

Scout's Notebook Archive:

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S Devon Hall
DT Tremaine Johnson
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