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.


Blaine Gabbert Q&A

Posted by: under Quarterbacks, Vikings, NFL draft, Vikings draft Updated: February 25, 2011 - 1:43 PM

INDIANAPOLIS -- Missouri's Blaine Gabbert and Auburn's Cam Newton are expected to be the top two quarterbacks taken in this draft. That means both could be gone before the Vikings pick 12th in the first round.

Gabbert said he got to meet with all the coaches on Thursday night at an informal session here at the NFL Scouting Combine. On Friday, he met with the media inside the press area at Lucas Oil Stadium. Here are a few questions-and-answers from that session.

Q. Do you have an awareness of where you might go in the draft?

A. "Of course, there's speculation. But at the end of the day it's out of my control. I just have to go out there, perform at a high level and still work as hard as possible."

Q. Excited about this?

A. "Yeah, there's no question. This opportunity doesn't come around very often, it's a once in a lifetime chance. I want to make the most of it and just have fun doing it."

Q. You are represented by Tom Condon of CAA and they don't have their clients throw at the combine. You OK with that?

A. "Tom's philosophy in the past is not throwing quarterbacks at the combine and I trust him with his advice. We have a plan set up and I'll be throwing at my Pro Day on March 17."

Q. What do you hope to show this week? You're not throwing but all the other drills.

A. "The biggest thing is the interview process. That's so instrumental in drafting a quarterback. You have to show that you're smart, you've got to be able to show that you're smart on the board, be able to talk in person. And then, of course, doing the running drills. Hopefully, I'll run a good 40-[yard dash] and test well on all the other events."

Q. Is this draft you versus Cam Newton?

A. "I think that's what you guys are making it out to be. Kind of me versus Cam. But it's just an opportunity for us to get drafted as high as possible. I know Cam, Ryan [Mallett] and Jake [Locker] are all working to be the No. 1 guy and it's going to be a fun next few months."

Q. How do you compare yourself to Newton?

A. "Cam's an explosive athlete. You've seen what he has done at the college level. He's won the JUCO national championship, won the national championship at the Division I level and he's been extremely successful. So he has all the talent in the world but we're going to compete and fight it out. May the best man win."

Q. What are you working on right now going from the spread offense to the pro style?

A. "I really wouldn't necessarily say the reads are different. We're not really a one-side read offense, we have three, four progression reads. Of course, the footwork is different. We're in the shotgun about 98 percent of the time. So that's what I've been working on, that's what I've focused on at Athletes Performance in Arizona and my quarterback coach, coach Terry Shea, has made that an extremely important process that I have to work on. I've done a great job so far and haven't seen a problem one bit."

 

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