The Vikings have proven before that they aren't afraid to pursue a little-known quarterback coming out of the college ranks.
In 2006, the Vikings surprised many by taking Tarvaris Jackson in the second round. A year later, the team drafted Tyler Thigpen out of Coastal Carolina in the seventh round and were disappointed when Kansas City claimed him off waivers. That foiled the Vikings plan to sneak Thigpen through to their practice squad.
This year it appears the Vikings have turned their attention to William & Mary's R.J. Archer, who is expected to be in town Tuesday and Wednesday when the Vikings host 30 draft-eligible prospects at Winter Park. Archer spent his first two seasons at wide receiver before being converted back to quarterback as a junior in in 2008.
A native of Charlottesville, Va., Archer was a three-year starter at quarterback in high school but last season marked his only full one as a starter at the position in college. Archer ended the season ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association with 198.4 passing yards per game and was named second-team all-conference.
One of his performances came at second-ranked Villanova when he threw for 354 yards and tied a single-game school record with 35 completions. He finished the season having completed 261 of 433 passes for 2,778 yards and 16 touchdowns, while rushing for 255 yards (on 100 attempts) and five touchdowns.
Archer is an excellent athlete with a "plus" arm according to those who have seen him. He ran a 4.67 in the 40-yard dash during William & Mary's Pro Day last month and the Vikings were in attendance. Archer has spent this spring pitching for William & Mary's baseball team. Archer was a baseball standout in high school but did not play the sport in college until this year.
The bottom line on Archer is he is extremely raw as a quarterback but could have the type of arm that intrigues a few NFL teams that see an opportunity to try to mold a kid.
By the way, in case you were wondering, Florida quarterback Tim Tebow isn't expected to drop by Winter Park. ESPN reports that Tebow is set to visit Cleveland on Tuesday and Washington on Thursday and Friday. There is always a chance the VIkings could try to bring Tebow in at another time but the team does like to bring in most of its draft prospects at the same time.
Here are a few names of players that are expected to visit:
QB R.J. Archer, William & Mary
CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Indiana, Pa.
OT Bruce Campbell, Maryland
OG Mike Iupati, Idaho
CB Jerome Murphy, South Florida
DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida
OL Maurkice Pouncey, Florida
CB Patrick Robinson, Florida State
DT Torrell Troup, Central Florida (Viking Update reported this one)