For the first time in several years, the Vikings are expected to make running back a priority on draft day, perhaps addressing the position as early as the second or third round.
According to draft insider Tony Pauline, the team has a potential target in mind. Pauline says the Vikings have expressed an interest in Towson RB Terrance West.
And the Vikings are not alone in being intrigued by West. At least 22 teams sent representatives to Towson pro day, specifically to look at West. The New Orleans Saints had multiple people there watching West, per Jason La Canfora.
Why the intense interest in West? A unique combination of traits.
West stands only 5-9, but is thickly built at 226 pounds. That muscular thickness does not detract from West’s speed, as he proved by running a 4.54 40 at the combine.
Clearly he has legit running skills, as he proved last year by rushing for an FCS record 2,509 yards, but what separates West from a lot of other guys who’ve put up big college numbers?
West did not actually catch the ball very much in college, but teams believe he has the potential to be a weapon as a receiver out of the backfield.
“He’s a natural route runner, you can see that, and he has natural pass-catching skills,” one scout told Jason La Canfora.
The Vikings are another team that could be in the market for a running back with pass catching skills. Norv Turner’s offense has traditionally featured a lot of receiving action for backs, especially in checkdown situations with vertical routes covered.
As we know, Adrian Peterson is only mediocre as a receiving back, so it makes sense that the Vikings would look to add someone with a more Darren Sproles-like skill set. In fact, many thought they might take a look at Sproles himself before the former Norv Turner back signed with the Eagles.
It could be that Turner looks at West, a smaller, thicker player with speed and receiving skills, and sees someone who would fit nicely in his offense as a third down back, and maybe even as a replacement for Peterson down the road.
There was a time when the Vikings might have thought they could get West in the middle to late rounds, but after the combine and now the pro day, interest in West appears to be spiking. He is now being looked at legitimately as a late second rounder.