The Vikings continued to dig into a heralded 2017 running back draft class Wednesday by watching two potential mid-round picks at Oklahoma’s Pro Day.
General Manager Rick Spielman, head coach Mike Zimmer and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu were among the NFL evaluators at OU to observe a handful of draft prospects, including running backs Joe Mixon and Samaje Perine, according to Dane Brugler of CBS Sports.
Mixon, who ran for 1,274 yards and 10 touchdowns last fall, likely drew most of the attention after he was barred from attending last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis. Mixon was suspended by OU coach Bob Stoops for the 2014-15 season after the freshman was charged with a misdemeanor for punching a female student.
It’s unclear whether or not the Vikings would consider drafting Mixon as the team, from the Wilf family ownership on down, has preached a high standard of conduct from its employees.
The Vikings did meet with Mixon’s former Sooners teammate, Samaje Perine, last week at the combine. Perine (5-11, 233 pounds) is an intriguing option for a Vikings offense in need of a tough runner who can handle a full workload.
His 30 bench press reps of 225 pounds led all running backs at the combine and tied for eighth among all 300-plus prospects in Indy. Perine said he also met with the Broncos, Seahawks, Bengals, Colts, Panthers, Eagles and Redskins.
During three seasons at OU, Perine racked up 4,122 rushing yards and 49 touchdowns on 685 carries.
Defensive tackle Charles Walker, linebacker Jordan Evans and receiver Dede Westbrook are also among this year’s draft prospects out of Oklahoma.