The Vikings drafted two players who took part in last year’s Senior Bowl in Kentrell Brothers and Willie Beavers and they’re on the lookout for more this week in Mobile, Ala.
The top annual college all-star game is underway with a week of practices culminating in Saturday’s Senior Bowl game. We’ll pinpoint five players Vikings fans should keep an eye on, which should have included the cousin of running back Matt Asiata.
However, Isaac Asiata, the 6-foot-3, 325-pound guard out of Utah, reportedly tweaked his hamstring Tuesday during the first day of practices.
“He’s doing good right now,” Matt Asiata said of Isaac before the Senior Bowl. “Hopefully he can translate [college success] to the NFL. It’s a big difference, but I’m pretty sure he’s got the mindset and talent to do it.”
Matt Asiata is a pending free agent this spring after contributing in the Vikings’ backfield for five seasons. He’s still living his NFL dream in spite of going undrafted in 2011 and, at one point, spending some time in the now-defunct UFL. The older cousin says he’s shared some encouraging words via text as Isaac prepares for the NFL Draft.
“Just be himself,” Matt Asiata said. “Just don’t try to, I don’t know, don’t go out of your element to do something. I think he knows what he’s doing. He’s got his wife to keep him straight — that’ll be good.”
The Vikings have a couple family connections as the brother of long snapper Kevin McDermott, UCLA tackle Conor McDermott, is also competing this week at the Senior Bowl. Below are five other players to watch.
OT/OG Taylor Moton, Western Michigan: The Vikings could use upgrades at three offensive line spots. A versatile lineman, Moton started at both right guard and right tackle during his five years at Western Michigan. Drew solid reviews Tuesday from his first Senior Bowl practice at tackle. Measured in at 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds, giving him the size to get a look at either guard or tackle in the NFL.
OT/OG Forrest Lamp, Western Kentucky: Lamp was a four-year starter at left tackle making 39 straight starts, anchoring the blindside of the NCAA’s fifth-ranked passing offense last fall. The projected mid-round pick began at guard this week at the Senior Bowl, where the 6-foot-4, 305-pound lineman could fit best in the NFL. Gets to face top-level competition again this week after Western Kentucky played both LSU and Alabama in his final two years.
OLB Carroll Phillips, Illinois: This is a deeper defensive draft with five or more potential first-round picks at linebacker. Phillips is considered a top talent, but reported off-field concerns could give some pause. Phillips went from the University of Cincinnati to a community college in Mississippi before latching on at Illinois, where he enjoyed a breakout senior season with 19 tackles for a loss, nine sacks and a forced fumble last fall under head coach Lovie Smith.
DT Dalvin Tomlinson, Alabama: Without a first-round pick and many holes to plug along the offensive line, the Vikings could be targeting a later addition to bolster defensive tackle. A noted run stopper for the Crimson Tide, the 6-foot-3, 312-pound Tomlinson had a solid senior season, his first as a starter, with 4.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, four pass breakups and a forced fumble.
RB Jamaal Williams, BYU: Should the Vikings part ways with Adrian Peterson, they may not need to look far for a good value in this class of running backs. Williams averaged 5.9 yards per carry as a senior for Brigham Young, totaling 1,375 yards and 12 touchdowns on the ground. At 6-feet tall and 211 pounds, Williams could be the type of physical back to pair with Jerick McKinnon.