Matt Vensel is in his first year at the Star Tribune after covering the Ravens for the Baltimore Sun for six years. He is a Pittsburgh native and a Penn State grad. Follow him at @mattvensel.


Mark Craig has covered the NFL for 23 years, and the Vikings since 2003 for the Star Tribune. He is one of 44 Pro Football Hall of Fame selectors. Follow him at @markcraignfl.


Master Tesfatsion is the Star Tribune’s digital Vikings writer. He is a 2013 graduate of Arizona State and worked for mlb.com before arriving in Minneapolis. Follow him at @masterstrib.


NFLPA, East-West Shrine games begin NFL Draft process

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion under Vikings, NFL draft Updated: January 13, 2014 - 10:34 AM

A week after the BCS National Championship game, bowl season is still underway. These games, however, pertain to prospects in the upcoming NFL Draft.

The NFLPA Collegiate Bowl and East-West Shrine game will both be played on Saturday with weigh-ins and practices this week. The NFLPA Bowl (5 p.m. CT on ESPN2) will be coach by former Vikings head coach Dennis Green and Dick Vermeil while the East-West game (3 p.m. CT on NFL Network) will be coached by Romeo Crennel and Jerry Glanville.

If you’re a draft junkie and want to watch some under-the-radar NFL prospects this week, ESPNU will air NFL Collegiate Bowl practices starting on Wednesday. Here are a few names from both games in the meantime.

NFLPA Collegiate Bowl (full roster here):

South Carolina senior quarterback Connor Shaw – Consiered as a "second tier" quarterback in this class, Shaw had 2,447 passing yards, 24 touchdowns and one interceptions this season while completing 63.4 percent of his passes. 

Texas senior guard Trey Hopkins  – The four-year offensive lineman was a first team All-Big 12 selection this season (second team last year). He played in 49 games (41 starts) with 28 at left guard and 13 at right tackle.

Kentucky senior linebacker Avery Williamson  – The four-year linebacker was a second-team All-SEC selection this season with 102 tackles (fourth in the conference).

East-West Shrine Game (full roster here):

Duke redshirt senior cornerback Ross Cockrell – He was named first-team All-ACC for a second consecutive season. He started 36 games with nine interceptions and 29 pass breakups.

Missouri senior cornerback E.J. Gaines – Selected on the first team All-SEC squad, Gaines led the Tigers with four interceptions. He also had 68 tackles. Gaines was also a first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2011.

Southern California redshirt senior defensive end Devon Kennard – After redshirting last season due to a torn chest muscle, Kennard was a second-team All-Pac 12 selection. He was seventh in the conference with nine sacks and tied for 14th with 13 tackles for loss.

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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
Dec 8 - at Baltimore NoonX29-26
Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13

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