Reports that the Vikings had a private workout with West Virginia quarterback Pat White for several hours Tuesday has sent some waves running through the fan faithful of the team.
For some, it may be limited to “Pat who?” To others, it may have considerably more significance. The real question might be what did the news of the workout do to his stock?
As a prospect, White is viewed as something of a mixed bag. He spent his college career as a quarterback and was one of the more explosive playmakers in the college game. However, few scouts believe that, at 6-0, 197 pounds, White could hold up as an NFL quarterback – despite the fact that he is the only QB in Division I history to win all four of his bowl game appearances as a starter. If that doesn’t give big-game cred, not much will.
The larger issue is considering where White sits on most draft boards. It’s likely more than half of the teams in the league view White as a wide receiver in the NFL, a position he has very limited experience with. He had a chance to boost his WR stock at the Senior Bowl but insisted on playing quarterback – which earned him the game MVP award. Of those that might consider him a quarterback prospect, most of those would likely be limiting his use as a Wildcat formation operator in the tradition of Antwaan Randle-El, another college QB-turned-receiver. As a result, many draft analysts have White viewed as a prospect that potentially will still be on the board after the first day of the draft. Why bring in a late-second or third-round prospect so close to the draft?
For a team as shrouded in draft secrecy as the Vikings, playing their hand so close to draft weekend is a puzzler indeed. A similar fate happened when Randle-El was drafted in 2002. Viewed as a third- or fourth-round prospect at best, word got out that the Rams had worked him out and were prepared to move into position to trade up for him. The Steelers made him one of the last picks of the second round and left the Rams hanging.
It isn’t unusual to bring in prospects for workouts, even if it is to throw other teams off the scent. In 2003, one of the few players the Vikings brought in was defensive tackle Jimmy Kennedy. He was paraded around Winter Park, but, as it turned out, the team was sending out a league-wide red herring – giving the impression that Kennedy was on their radar when Kevin Williams was really the player they coveted. The ploy worked, but the execution was horribly botched as a proposed trade to move down just enough to still get Williams fell through and two teams jumped in front of the Vikings and made picks when the clock expired.
But that was a first-round pick. The stakes were high. White isn’t viewed as a first-round pick by anyone, but their interest may just have been piqued by the Vikings.
It would seem now that if another team has a serious interest in White, they may start calling teams sitting at the end of the second round to make sure they can lock him down. At this point, it wouldn’t appear that the Vikings would take White in with the 54th pick in the draft with needs on the offensive line, at wide receiver and in the secondary. But, then again, who thought the Vikings would move up into the end of the second round and give up two third-round picks to land Tarvaris Jackson?
Brad Childress, Rick Spielman and Scott Studwell will deliver their pre-draft press conference today, which will be attended by Viking Update. Those expecting any pre-draft revelations may be disappointed, since Childress has yet to be very forthcoming with what positions the team may look to upgrade, much less getting into specifics about the pros and cons of individual players.
Heading into the draft, the Vikings are ninth in available salary cap space with $17.32 million. They trail only Philadelphia ($37.4 million), Tampa Bay ($35.54 million), Kansas City ($32.3 million), Green Bay ($27.9 million), San Francisco ($26.11 million), Atlanta ($23.7 million), Chicago ($20.96 million) and Cleveland ($20.3 million).
There is growing speculation that the Lions are going to announce as soon as today that they have reached a contract agreement with Matthew Stafford to be the first pick in the draft.
While the Bengals have said Chad Johnson won’t be traded and the Cardinals are denying any offers have been made for Anquan Boldin, the buzz in Cleveland is that is seems almost certain that Braylon Edwards will get moved. Wait and see on that one.
Reports on Wednesday claim that Adrian Peterson turned down an offer to be the cover boy for the latest edition of the Madden football video game through EA Sports. Peterson was announced as one of nine finalists for the cover, but reportedly rejected the offer made to be on the 2009 cover. The player named to the cover will be announced Friday.