Scout's Notebook: WR Ray Small

The diminutive Ohio State wideout hopes to show enough big-play ability to land a roster spot with the Vikings. Here's a closer look at the rookie free agent, tracing his high school, college and predraft accomplishments.

#85, Ray Small, WR (5101, 185, 4.36-4.51) Ohio State

Born 3/25/87, in Cleveland, Ohio. Son of Kenneth and Veda Small. Attended Glenville High School. Caught 35 passes for 521 yards and 10 touchdowns, returned 13 punts for 292 yards and two touchdowns, returned three kickoffs for 270 yards and two touchdowns and rushed 13 times for 175 yards and a TD as a senior. Also recorded 31 tackles, two interceptions, six pass breakups and a sack en route to league MVP honors. Had 429 yards receiving and three touchdowns on 33 grabs as a junior and carried the football 26 times for 241 yards and three more scores.

College: Saw action in 11 games as a true freshman in 2006; caught eight passes for 68 yards (8.5 avg.) and one touchdown. Caught 20-267-2 (13.4 avg.) and led the team in kickoff (22-391-0) and punt (21-153-0) returns in 2007. Here's a YouTube compilation of Small from '07. Suspended for 2 games for reportedly being late to team meetings, he caught 18-149-0 (8.3 avg.) and ranked in the top 10 in the NCAA for punt-return average (15.2) with 24 returns for 364 yards, including a touchdown against Ohio (YouTube clip) in 2008. Small temporarily had his scholarship revoked due to issues with grades prior to his senior campaign. In 2009, he caught 15-175-0 (11.7 avg.) and returned punts 33-273-0 (8.3 avg.) and kickoffs 12-324-1 (27.0 avg.). Here's a YouTube clip of the kickoff return for score against Wisconsin. Small, along with teammate Robert Rose, were suspended because of a violation of team rules for the Buckeyes' Rose Bowl appearance following his senior campaign. Small was considered the fastest player on the Ohio State football roster. His college major was sociology.

Pre-Draft: Measured 5101 (5'-10 1/8"), 182 pounds…1.54 10-yard dash…2.51 20-yard dash…4.44-4.46 40-yard dash…31-inch vertical jump…9-1 broad jump…4.10 20-yard shuttle…6.77 three-cone drill.

Pro: Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the Vikings following the 2010 NFL Draft.

Positives: Quick, fast and electrifying player who can change momentum any time he touches the ball. Capable of making big plays in the open field after the catch or on punt and kickoff returns. Catches the ball well. Shows good instincts in space with darting moves and acceleration to hit a seam and run away from defenders. Should be an effective receiver in the slot.

Negatives: Lacks top size. Fast but not superfast by NFL standards. Modest overall production, despite big-play skills. Somewhat inconsistent catching the ball. Needs route refinement and polish as a receiver. Spent a lot of time in the coach's doghouse in college with more than one disciplinary issue. Maturity and durability are questionable.

Summary: Quick, nifty, speedy slot receiver who can also return kicks. He will need to show a focus and commitment to improving his game in training camp to merit a longer look, but he has the skills to contribute in the NFL as a role player.

Kevin Brown has been providing personnel analysis and writing about the Vikings for more than 20 years with Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.

Scout's Notebook Archive:
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OL Thomas Austin
OT Patrick Brown
WR Marko Mitchell
FB Ryan D'Imperio
TE Mickey Shuler
RB Ryan Moats
CB Chris Cook
RB Toby Gerhart
DE Everson Griffen
OG Chris DeGeare
LB Nate Triplett
CB Lito Sheppard
DE Mike Montgomery
DT Jimmy Kennedy
RB Albert Young
K Rhys Lloyd

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