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.


Vikings will be looking at rookie free agents

Posted by: under Vikings, NFC, Kevin Williams, Pat Williams Updated: July 23, 2011 - 4:45 PM

The Vikings will have a long and busy to-do list when the lockout finally ends -- we refuse to make any predictions about when that will be -- including pursuing rookie free agents.

The team has been aggressive in going after undrafted players in previous years and with clubs able to take 90 players to training camp (because of the lockout) there will be plenty of roster spots to fill.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com has compiled a list of the top 13 available undrafted players. Here's that list and four players who might interest the Vikings. (Keep in mind, making the team will be a huge uphill battle for undrafted players given the fact coaches haven't seen their own players or draft picks in several months.)

Kendric Burney, CB, North Carolina: Brandt writes that Burney has good coverage ability and plays well against the run but doesn’t have ideal size for the position. Why a fit? The Vikings drafted Brandon Burton and Mistral Raymond but they learned last season that a team can never have enough cornerbacks. Veteran free agents Lito Sheppard and Frank Walker are expected to leave and Raymond could end up at safety.

Deandre McDaniel, SS, Clemson: Brandt writes that McDaniel had a good 2010, recording a team-best four interceptions but lacks top-notch speed and struggles in man coverage. Why a fit? The Vikings base defense is a Tampa-2, so struggling in man coverage wouldn’t be the end of the world. The Vikings have depth at safety but are looking to improve overall at the position.

Terrence Toliver, WR, LSU: Toliver is 6-foot-4, 214 pounds with 4.59 speed, but Brandt points out that Toliver “tends to be a body catcher, allowing passes to get to his body rather than his hands.” Why a fit? You can’t teach size and the Vikings only drafted one wide receiver in April. That was seventh-round pick Stephen Burton of West Texas A&M.

Ian Williams, DT, Notre Dame: A three-year starter, Brandt notes that Williams is strong and understands leverage but is just an average pass rusher. Why a fit? The Vikings took Iowa defensive tackle Christian Ballard in the fourth round, but the team will be facing some issues with nose tackle Pat Williams potentially leaving as a free agent and 3-technique Kevin Williams possibly suspended for the first four games of the season. Letroy Guion and Jimmy Kennedy would figure to be the starters if Kevin and Pat Williams aren’t around, but adding depth would not be a bad thing.

 

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