The Minnesota Vikings use the combine for multiple reasons, including evaluating skills which aren’t apparent on tape and getting to know the players.
Attempting to make the transition from college football to the National Football League is a strange process. After playing their hearts out for several seasons at university, the players get together for one super-sized weekend at the NFL’s Scouting Combine where they are measured, weighed, interviewed and put through tests that some experts say is the most important time of their careers.
With the process much like a cattle call, teams use the numbers they get to confirm what the scouts saw on tape or make them re-evaluate someone. But what if a player has a bad performance due to something in their personal life or just plain have an off-day? Should this event be more important than the hard work that was put in for multiple years at the college level?
Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman understands the pressure that these kids are under. For some small-school prospects, this could be the biggest opportunity of their lives, while high-profile players need to prove that they deserve the recognition they get.
"“Why wouldn’t you want to compete on a stage like this on national TV with millions of people watching you with every major decision-maker in the NFL in one spot?” Spielman said according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “Wouldn’t you want to reach out and thrive in that competition and show, ‘This is why I am who I am?'”"
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While it is an opportunity, it’s also a stressful time. A poor interview or poor day physically could cost these players a significant amount of money if they fall in the NFL Draft. And that is why Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer uses the NFL Scouting Combine as a tool to confirm what he’s already seen from these players on their game tape.
"“The measurements kind of clarify in your mind what you’ve seen on tape,” Zimmer said. “So if you watch a guy on tape and you see him and you say, ‘I’m not sure how fast he is,’ and he runs a 40 you’ve got a pretty good idea. Or if you have a guy that doesn’t change directions as well and then he does a good short shuttle or the three-cone or something like that.”"
The Minnesota Vikings are a team like likes drafting physically gifted players and then develop them. These are typically the kind of players who have jaw-dropping days at the combine, but Minnesota knows that sometimes guys like this slip through the cracks as well.
With the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine coming to a close soon, it will be time for the Minnesota Vikings to look forward to the individual player’s pro days and put together their final big boards for the 2016 NFL Draft. Hopefully, the team found some players at the Combine who caught their eye and others who may have confirmed exactly what the team saw and liked on tape.