It wasn't long before Twitter Land was abuzz yesterday with complaints from Vikings' fans that Rick Spielman, VP of player personnel, had shown up at the University of Minnesota's Pro Day. Or at least that's what addicts who can't go 3 seconds between tweets tell me.
Yes, it seems odd that given the choice between going to Arkanas or Auburn, the Vikings' top draft guy chose, um, Minnesota. It's also odd that he brought along the team's new QBs coach, Craig Johnson.
So on a day when Ryan Mallett was throwing in Arkansas and Cam Newton was throwing at Auburn, Johnson was in Minneapolis watching, um, Adam Weber.
Spielman said the team had representatives at Arkansas and Auburn. He also assured everyone that they'll have all the information they need on the top QBs before the draft is held late next month.
I believe him. Frankly, I'm not a big combine or pro day guy anyway. I'm also not a Newton believer, so I really don't care what Cam's throwing motion looks like in shorts in March.
I just find it odd that Spielman wouldn't go to either Arkansas or Auburn. Not alarming or wrong or "Let's-Fire-the-Bum" bad. Just odd. Even if he has scheduled private workouts, what's the harm in being there for the pro day? Especially when the number of overall prospects was so much greater than what was on display in Minnesota. I can only guess that it's a gamesmanship thing. The Vikings not wanting to look too eager, perhaps.
I went to Wednesday's Minnesota pro day to do a column for Thursday's kill-a-tree edition. I basically shadowed Derek Domino, a prospect from Spring Lake Park and South Dakota State, from the time he arrived at 7 a.m. until he was done working out. It's (hopefully) a glimpse into what these guys go through on what is a very important day in their lives, especially for the small-school guys.
There were about 20 small-school prospects who showed up. They were told ahead of time that they'd run the 40-yard dash and then the scouts would decide which ones would continue on with the other five drills designed to measure speed, strength and agility.
Only Domino and four others ran well enough to make the cut. The other 15 or so were sent packing.
Two of the small-school prospects that stood out were former Concordia receivers Calvin Simon of Shakopee and Jordan Schultenover of Minnetonka. Schultenover, who's 6-3 and 205 pounds, ran a 4.41.
Drafts are always unpredictable. That seems especially true this year. No one appears to have a handle on who will be the No. 1 pick or how the top half of the draft will fall together.
Looking at the number of teams that need quarterbacks at the top of the draft, I'm guessing the QBs will start flying off the board in a hurry. It's not a knock-your-socks-off class of QBs at the top, but it's going to be hard for teams to pass up QBs when the only way to win the Super Bowl today is to have an elite QB. I mean how in the world does Carolina pass on having the pick of any QB they want and take a defensive end?
My guess is Newton and Blaine Gabbert will be long gone before the Vikings pick 12th. Maybe Mallett is gone, too. But maybe his off-the-field baggage weighs him down and the Vikings get a crack at him. Maybe not. Who knows.
All I know is that of all the QBs, Mallett is the guy the Vikings should be studying the hardest. The rumors of drug use, the way he carries himself, his personality, his composure under pressure, is he a leader?, etc., etc. I'm sure the Vikings are looking into all that stuff.
This could be the year for the Vikings to gamble by trading up to take a quarterback in the top five. If the new CBA includes some sort of rookie wage scale -- as it most likely will since both sides agree there should be one -- the Vikings or any other team could move up and grab a quarterback without as much risk of handcuffing the team for the next decade financially if the QB doesn't pan out.