INDIANAPOLIS —- The Vikings have arrived in Indianapolis. I know this because I sat behind several Vikings VIPs, including head coach Mike Zimmer and assistant GM George Paton, on an airplane from MSP this morning. I would like to thank Zimmer for not reclining his seat during the flight.
The Vikings are eager to check out the 300-plus prospects who will be here in Indianapolis over the next week for the NFL scouting combine. Sure, they will be there with stopwatches for the televised portion of the event, but the 15-minute formal interviews with players and physical examinations are also important pieces of the puzzle when it comes to completing a draft profile for each player.
Of course, what these guys do in spandex — the players, not Zimmer and Co. — will get the attention of fans. Some of these feats of athleticism don’t always translate to the football field, but you can’t help but marvel at how fast some of these guys are and how much air they can get.
The Vikings, especially in recent years, have coveted athletes, and current players such as Adrian Peterson, Cordarrelle Patterson, Everson Griffen and Anthony Barr come to mind. But which current Vikings players fared the best in each of the major combine drills? Some answers may surprise you.
(Note that I compiled this information mostly from the NFL’s website along with some other online sources. I think these top performers are accurate, but feel free to alert me to any omissions.)
40-yard dash: This one is a little deceiving. The top performer for the Vikings has only been with the team for a few weeks. That would be cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke, who was signed to a futures contract last month. Van Dyke has bounced around the league, but he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.28 seconds in 2011, the fourth-fastest time since 2006.
Bench press: Nose tackle Linval Joseph pumped out 39 reps on the bench in 2010, tied for the 10th most since 2006. He was drafted by the Giants in the second round and signed here last year.
Vertical jump: Running back Jerick McKinnon was a workout warrior at last year’s combine, finishing as a top performer at his position in most of the events. One of those was the vertical jump. He leapt 40.5 inches, tied for fifth among all players. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes also jumped 40.5 inches back in 2012. Peterson measured 38.5 inches in the vertical jump in 2007 — ridiculous considering he wasn’t fully healthy after breaking his collarbone.
Broad jump: Cornerback Josh Robinson jumped 11 feet and one inch in 2012, which ranked second among all players that year. That was the best broad jump I could find for an active Vikings player, though former Vikings receiver Jerome Simpson jumped 11 feet and four inches in 2008.
Three-cone drill: Robinson again. He ran the three-cone drill in 6.55 seconds, ranking second among all players in 2012. Safety Harrison Smith was not far behind him that year at 6.63 seconds.
20-yard shuttle: Safety Robert Blanton is the top Vikings performer in this drill after running it 3.97 seconds in 2012. That time was tied with — guess who? — Robinson. Wide receiver Jarius Wright ran it in 4.03 seconds, also in 2012, more proof the Vikings prioritized speed that year.
60-yard shuttle: A blast from the past! Wide receiver Greg Jennings had the best 60-yard shuttle time among current Vikings players. He ran it in 11.15 seconds way back in 2006 — yes, they had the combine back then — before the Packers drafted him in the second round.
Anyway, that should be all for today on the blog. I’m going to do some scouting of my own to find the best places to grab a bite to eat in Indy. My big combine preview will be published in tomorrow’s newspaper (it should go up online tonight), and I’ll have more content throughout the week.
You’d swear that headline was ripped straight from The Onion or some other satire site. But it isn’t. It’s absolutely true that Rivals.com has found a pair of sixth-graders — that was grade school when we were growing up — that it deems so talented at football that it must track them as part of the Class of 2021 already.
No, really. SI.com noted that Rivals is tracking sixth-graders for the first time after two were particularly impressive at a recent camp
They are: Running back Tyson Thornton and quarterback Daron Bryden. Thornton is a 5’11″ RB from Massachusetts, while Bryden is listed as a 5’2″ pro-style quarterback from Connecticut.
Per Rivals.com, here is the scouting report on both:
Thornton is a 5-foot-11, 167-pound running back with great explosiveness and surprisingly good body control for a kid his size and age. Bryden, a small quarterback with a big arm is incredibly composed and very polished — and he can make every throw. And with a father standing nearly 6-foot-7, he may soon have the body to match his arm. Both of these young players were so impressive they were moved up to compete against the eighth grade prospects.
Maybe this is just par for the course and we shouldn’t get bent out of shape. Plenty of athletes are identified as “elite” at this age in other sports. Still, it just feels weird in a sport like football — when these kids are many years away from physically maturing — to be calling someone a “pro style quarterback” or talking about how “polished” someone is.
Our daughter is in the 88th percentile for height. Maybe we can get Rivals to add her to the 2032 basketball database?
A Faribault Daily News report said that girls from other schools stood outside the Faribault team's dressing room and screamed after Saturday's controversial awards presentation at the state Dance Team competition.