Sep 24, 2011; Norman, OK, USA; Oklahoma Sooners tight end James Hanna (82) runs with the ball after a catch in the second quarter against the Missouri Tigers at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Vikings Draft Targets 2012: Tight End James Hanna

Tight end is not an area of immediate need for the Vikings what with Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson in the fold. But with ten picks in their pockets the Vikes can afford to take a look at some late-round project players who might give value down the road. That explains their interest in Oklahoma tight end James Hanna. Aaron Wilson of reports that the Vikings will visit with Hanna, a man Wilson describes as “one of the most athletic players in the draft.” The Chiefs, Bears and Browns have also shown interest.

That most athletic tag comes mostly thanks to Hanna’s combine performance. He ran a 4.49 40, posted 24 reps in the 225-pound bench and flashed a 36 1/2-inch vertical. His college numbers were nondescript but in this case you can throw out the numbers entirely. Obviously this guy’s pure athletic gifts are intriguing. The scouting reports all make special mention of his ability to make difficult leaping catches. They also mention – and this is why he’s a project player at best – his complete lack of blocking skill. It’s also noted that Hanna doesn’t “play up to his speed” and is a lousy route runner.

But he’s fast in a straight line and he’s athletic. That’s the kind of stuff you look for in a potential sixth-round pick. Skills that you can mold and shape. And if you can’t mold and shape him into a tight end, maybe he ends up being a decent special teams guy. Whatever happens with Hanna’s career, I’m guessing he’ll never have enough scratch to give Oklahoma a $1 million donation the way fellow former Sooner Adrian Peterson recently did. Maybe Hanna can slip them a couple hundred one day.

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