Geoff Schwartz (Rob Tringali/Getty)
After having E.J. and Erin Henderson on the same team for four years, the Vikings could have an opportunity to put Geoff and Mitchell Schwartz on the same team. However, the draft will likely see another team scooping up Mitchell before Minnesota is done filling pressing needs.
For the last four years, the Vikings have had the brother system going with E.J. Henderson and Erin Henderson. Both played the same position and, as Erin has admitted often over the last four years, his older brother helped him make the transition into the pros.
At first, many thought the Vikings signed Erin Henderson as something of a favor to E.J. The outside conventional wisdom was that if one Henderson was good, two would be better.
As the Vikings near the draft of this year’s college talent, they may be able to repeat that feat. Mitchell Schwartz is viewed as one of the better right tackle prospects in the draft, but, because of a history of back problems and the belief in some circles that he will likely be moved to guard and will enter the league as a multi-positional backup swingman candidate, he isn’t as highly touted as some other prospects.
Schwartz comes from an athletic family – his brother Geoff was recently signed to play right guard for the Vikings. It may take a little luck on the Vikings’ part for the Schwartz brothers to have a family reunion. Schwartz is viewed in most scouting circles as a third- or fourth-round prospect. Unfortunately for the Vikings, they have other more pressing needs prior to the fourth round.
Mitchell started all 51 games of his college career, but with the red flag associated with his back issues and the firm belief he can’t play left tackle (where he made 35 of his 51 career starts at Cal) and isn’t viewed as a starting candidate, he may well fall into the third day of the draft.
For teams that have a pressing need at right tackle, Schwartz may be a more attractive option. Given that the Vikings have a need at guard for depth purposes after releasing Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera, if Schwartz is still there, who better to teach him the position than his own brother?
Odds are that the need of other teams for a right tackle might take him off the board prior to the Vikings getting a chance to make him a pick (perhaps with one of their two compensatory picks), but, after a good four years with Henderson brothers, maybe the Schwartz brothers would make a solid sequel to the original.
Who knew it was going to be a fashion show at lunch Tuesday when the NFL unveiled its new uniform design with the jersey turnover to Nike from Reebok – tantamount to Coca Cola losing out to Pepsi. While the uniform design remained familiar for most teams, except the Seahawks (it would seem that Nike doesn’t like its neighbors after doing significant re-designs of the Seahawks and University of Oregon jerseys), there were enough changes that the “cool kids” will need to get them. Most of the new jerseys are similar to the old, except the new jersey looks like it has a jersey on top of gold collared shirt. Apparently the new Nike slogan is “Just Buy It!”
The new Panthers uniform includes the phrase “KEEP POUNDING” on it inside of the neck on the jersey. The phrase was made by former Panther linebacker Sam Mills, who, while battling cancer, spoke to the team prior to their 2003 playoff game with the Cowboys. He told the players in an emotional speech that when he learned he had cancer, he had two choices – “quit or keep pounding.” The Panthers won that game. Mills lost his battle with cancer two years later. In what had to be a suggestion from the team – it’s been seven years since Mills passed – it was one of the coolest, classiest gestures a team could make.
As regular readers know, VU has its closeted conspiracy wing that is similar to the local TV news “I-Team” that investigates corruption when it sees it. When the New Orleans Saints signed Curtis Lofton from the Falcons, it perked up our conspiracy radars that the Saints were going on the belief that Jonathan Vilma would be made the scapegoat of the punishment phase of Bountygate. Vilma is the Saints’ middle linebacker. Lofton was Atlanta’s middle linebacker. It didn’t take a sleuth to see the connection. However, Tuesday’s signing of David Hawthorne, the Seattle outside linebacker who led the Seahawks in tackles each of the last three years, sent off alarms in the conspiracy command bunker, taking all of our resources away from an interesting Bigfoot sighting in Montana. Lofton and Hawthorne had monster seasons playing as their respective team’s top tacklers. Considering that the Saints went the expensive route on linebackers would indicate that perhaps someone in a decision-making capacity with the team knows that something is coming down in the next few days that is going to gut the linebacker corps.
Something to keep an eye on after the Saints’ suspensions come down: Detroit defensive tackle Nick Fairley was arrested Tuesday in Alabama on a charge of marijuana possession. Given the current mood of Commissioner Roger “The Hammer” Goodell, it might not be the best time for a player keeping the NFL in the news for the wrong reasons.
If teams use the Wonderlic test as a determining factor in player evaluation, blue-chip cornerback Morris Claiborne of LSU scoring a 4 on the 50-question Wonderlic test is astonishingly bad.
John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.