Perrilloux looks strong, ready for new start

Ryan Perrilloux had a solid first day trying out for the Minnesota Vikings. He showed a strong arm and said all the right things in his first shot at the NFL.

Ryan Perrilloux doesn't have an NFL contract yet, but he's getting closer.

Perrilloux took to the Vikings practice fields at Winter Park on Friday on a tryout basis and showed NFL qualities – a strong arm, athleticism and even the ability to sidestep the ever-present Brett Favre questions.

Perrilloux, the much-publicized former LSU quarterback that had to transfer to Jacksonville (La.) State to resurrect his NFL hopes after having his scholarship pulled, worked out recently with Favre.

Favre and Perrilloux have the same agent, Bus Cook, and on the same day that Favre was posting a message on his web site downplaying the severity of an ankle injury that probably won't have a lot to do with his decision whether or not to return to the Vikings, Perrilloux was asked about his conversations with Favre.

"Mainly we just talked about coming up here and getting ready for minicamp and what to expect up here in Minnesota," Perrilloux said.

"We talked, but I did all the working out. He looked good."

So did Perrilloux during his first day in purple (or red, as he was wearing the typical QB practice jersey). He displayed the strong arm that helped make him the player of the year coming out of high school.

"You always have to go back to the stroke, got to like how the ball gets out," Vikings coach Brad Childress said when asked what attracted him to Perrilloux and R.J. Archer, the other quarterback at rookie camp. "Both of those guys are able to get the ball out. And then you've got to see some football savvy.

"Doesn't make any difference whether you can throw it through a wall, can you translate? Just in the little bit I've seen in the meetings last night, there is a pretty good process now. The next step is those bodies that start to swing at you. The next part is the volume. I saw things that led me to both of them, being able to throw the football and being able to process. They did a good job in this session here."

In order to get to this point, however, Perrilloux's career had to take a detour. From one of the top-rated quarterbacks in high school, he became one of the headliners in college, but most for the wrong reasons.

He reportedly failed a drug test, was arrested for entering a casino with a fake ID, was involved in a fight, and missed classes and team meetings. After a suspension and another violation, LSU coach Tim Miles revoked his scholarship.

"It's been tough, but I'm a worker and a perseverer, and through the grace of God, he brought me through and I'm just excited to be where I am today," Perrilloux said.

"It's a growing experience. It's humbling. I definitely had to re-evaluate myself and find different ways to handle different situations. I think throughout all of this I became a better person and I just thank the Minnesota Vikings and Coach Childress for giving me an opportunity."

Despite never taking the full-time reins at LSU because of his transgressions, his talent was apparent and production obvious.

In 2007, his last season with Tigers, Perrilloux helped lead LSU to the National Championship Game when he filled in for starter Matt Flynn for two games. Perrilloux was named the MVP of the SEC Championship after completing 20 of 30 passes for 243 yards and a touchdown. For the season, he completed 51 of 75 passes for 694 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions while rushing for 207 yards and two touchdowns.

After having his scholarship revoked at LSU, the 6-foot-2, 227-pounder transferred to Jacksonville (La.) State, where he connected on 138 of 236 passes last year for 2,345 yards, 23 touchdowns and two interceptions.

"I just went out and played ball and just did what I love to do – lead my football team the best way I can," he said. "I just tried to lay down a good foundation for the NFL to see and the Minnesota Vikings brought me and gave me an opportunity.

Childress said the Vikings didn't give Perrilloux much consideration during the draft last weekend, but the coach was comfortable with Perrilloux's background.

"He has raw skills and ability. We were able to talk yesterday and obviously you know what agent he has. I was able to talk to Bus a little bit," Childress said. "Brett has kind of interacted with him a little bit. I find him to be a humble kid here and I'm not judging him backwards. I'm judging him from forwards."

That's exactly how Perrilloux wants it. He's ready for a new start.

"Minnesota gave me an opportunity to come out here and just start fresh, and I just want to thank them for that," he said.

"I kind of just focus on playing football and just focus on doing the right things and being a positive person, not looking in the past. That's behind you."

Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

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