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.


Senior Bowl: Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo in; AJ McCarron out

Posted by: Master Tesfatsion Updated: January 20, 2014 - 6:54 AM

MOBILE, Ala. -- Alabama quarterback AJ McCarron declined an invitation to the Senior Bowl (more on that later), which allowed Eastern Illinois quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to receive the final roster spot at the position. He was one of seven East-West Shrine game players to receive a Senior Bowl invitation on Saturday:

  • Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo
  • West Virginia defensive end Will Clarke
  • Louisiana Tech defensive tackle Justin Ellis
  • Oklahoma offensive lineman Gabe Ikard
  • Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir
  • Utah State cornerback Nevin Lawson
  • Georgia Tech free safety Jamea Thomas

Garoppolo improved his draft stock with an impressive week of practice and went 9 of 14 for 100 yards and a touchdown in the game.

The reason McCarron declined the Senior Bowl invite in his home state? According to one report from a former NFL scout, he already thinks he’s a first round pick.

We’ll be in Mobile for most of the week covering Senior Bowl activities.

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