VikingBuzz BLOG: Scouts making Pro Day rounds

Like all teams, the Vikings scouting department is racking up a lot of frequent flier miles these days as they crisscross the country attending various Pro Day workouts of NFL Draft prospects.

Studwell spends extra time with Georgia linebacker

Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran (5-foot-10 5/8, 229 pounds) might not be very high on the draft board for some teams, but for a Cover-2 defensive scheme like the Vikings deploy, an undersized linebacker with athletic ability, instincts and productivity can be a good fit.

According to NFL.com's Gil Brandt, Vikings director of college scouting Scott Studwell spent extra time working Curran out at Georgia's Pro Day on March 16.

Brandt reports Curran clocking 4.65 and 4.73 in the 40-yard dash, 27 bench-press reps at 225 pounds, a 35-inch vertical jump, a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump, a 4.40-second short shuttle and a 7.34-second three-cone drill.

These are all solid workout numbers, despite being considered shorter than you'd like. But perhaps more importantly, he performed well in the actual football drills, according to DawgPost.com's Dean Legge.

Curran is foregoing his final year of eligibility to enter the 2010 NFL Draft and will be a 21-year-old rookie.

For longtime Vikings fans, he might remind them a lot of Ed McDaniel, who was a very productive player in spite of being a little shorter than you'd prefer. Like McDaniel, Curran has terrific instincts and reactions and is always around the ball.

In Minnesota's Cover-2 scheme, he'd be able to play off the ball and has the speed and athleticism to get downfield into the passing lanes on pass coverage.

He's not a first- or second-round guy, but keep an eye on Curran beyond that for a team like the Vikings, where he's a better fit.

McCourty also on Minnesota's radar?

The Vikings are also not alone in showing extensive interest in Rutgers cornerback Devin McCourty.

They were one of 14 teams to reportedly conduct personal interview with McCourty at the Scouting Combine.

"Aside from being a very good corner, he might be the best special-teams player in the whole draft from a return perspective, gunner, jammer, makes tackles," Vikings preseason analyst and NFL draft guru Mike Mayock said. "You get quite a package if you draft Devin."

McCourty represents a very logical prospect for the Vikings at the bottom of Round One, both for his long-range potential to become a top-flight cornerback, but also his ability to contribute right away on special teams. McCourty is projected to Minnesota in more than one (of the many) mock drafts circulating the internet.

Westbrook an option after the draft?

When long-time Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook hit the free-agent market, the Vikings seemed like a logical destination, especially after Chester Taylor signed with the Bears.

And yet, they pursued LaDainian Tomlinson first, and haven't shown much interest in Westbrook ... to this point.

Word on the web is that most teams, including the Vikings, are concerned about Westbrook's knee and his overall ability to stay healthy for an entire 16-game season.

That said, the key timing for rekindling any Westbrook-to-Minnesota speculation will come after the draft. At that point, if the Vikings haven't drafted a running back prospect to compete with incumbent Albert Young for playing time behind Adrian Peterson, Westbrook could very well be an option then. And his price tag will likely be much lower then than it is now.

Blitzes

  • CB Karl Paymah, the only restricted free agent to whom the Vikings did not tender an offer, signed a one-year contract with San Francisco.

    Analysis: Paymah badmouthed the coaches in Denver when he came to Minnesota. He badmouthed the weather in Minnesota in signing with the 49ers. A pretty good special teamer, Paymah can run with receivers in coverage but has poor instincts and ball reactions, so he was not going to be an answer for the Vikings, even with their need for depth at cornerback.

  • RB LaDainian Tomlinson said during a radio interview that he would have made more money if he signed with the Minnesota Vikings.

    Analysis: Not surprising. The Vikings put their best foot forward to sell Tomlinson on a key role behind Peterson in Minnesota. He preferred the bigger role the Jets offered. In the end, it could be as big a miss as NOT getting T.J. Houshmandzadeh last year.

  • The Philadelphia Eagles released former Pro Bowl OG Shawn Andrews last week. Would the Vikings be interested?

    Analysis: Like with Westbrook, maybe AFTER the draft. Head coach Brad Childress would know Andrews well from his tenure in Philadelphia, so whatever questions there are about Andrews as a player and as a person, particularly his psyche, would be something to which Childress could personally attest. When right, Andrews was a phenomenal football player, but he's only played two games over the past two NFL seasons, and there's a well-chronicled history as to why.

  • CB Nathan Vasher anyone? Division rival Chicago released the six-year veteran this past week also.

    Analysis: Injuries limited Vasher in 2007 and 2008, and he started only two games in 2009, despite playing in 15. Before all that, he appeared in one Pro Bowl. The problem is the Vikings (like anyone else) do not have any recent film of Vasher playing anywhere near that level. He clearly was no longer worth the $2.95 million this year, $3.45 million in 2011, and $3.7 million he was set to make in the final year of his deal with the Bears.

    Extra Points

  • With the Eagles acquiring defensive end Darryl Tapp from Seattle, it would appear they are likely out of the running as a prospect for signing Vikings DE Ray Edwards to an offer sheet.

  • There have been reports circulating that someone might be interested in backup OL Ryan Cook, who's tender would require third-round compensation.

    Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow VU on Twitter and discuss this and other topics on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.

     


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