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COMBINE STARS

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Three players who created a buzz over the weekend are three players who are likely on the Vikings radar as well: Alabama wide receiver Julio Jones, Oregon State defensive tackle Stephen Paea, and Washington quarterback Jake Locker.

Julio Jones. Though the Vikings reportedly extended an offer to receiver Sidney Rice, though Rice reportedly wants to remain a Viking, his agent, the dastardly Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN that Rice won’t sign with the Vikings before testing free agency.

Whether and/or how he’ll get a chance remains open to question. The uncertainty over The Rice Situation has got to have the Vikings looking seriously at the receivers in the draft.

The 6’4″, 220 lbs. Julio Jones ran a 4.39

Found at YouTube from CBSSports.

Stephen Paea. Coach Leslie Frazier made it clear the Vikings will be looking to improve the defensive line. But while most observers have focused on the defensive end position, what with Ray Edwards and Brian Robison possibly leaving via free agency and first year player Everson Griffen‘s recent unpleasantness, Frazier made it if not explicit, at least pointedly clear that he wants an upgrade at defensive tackle.

Frazier said Pat Williams is going to retire…

But I don’t think Big Pat said that. I think he hinted at it some time ago but most recently I seem to remember him saying he wants to play a few more years. So this sounds like a passive/aggressive way of saying we don’t want Pat Williams back.

So the Vikings are in the market for a defensive tackle and Stephen Paea may be a candidate for the Vikings roster. Paea broke a combine record over the weekend by bench pressing 225 pounds 49 times. Strong guy, obviously.

And he’s the type of defensive tackle the Vikings will be looking for, a run-stopping space-eater rather than a player who disrupts the passing game.

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49 Reps: DT Stephen Paea Sets Combine Record from Minnesota Vikings News.

[WATCH Stephen Paea highlights.]

Jake Locker. While Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett were getting mixed reviews, Jake Locker opened eyes.

It is expected that Newton will be gone by the time the Vikings draft but many people have us taking Mallett. Mallett, however, did himself no favors by abruptly leaving the stage after questions about rumors of his drug use.

Found at YouTube from MartyTimeTV.

Locker, however, ran a 4.59 forty yard dash but more importantly, he showed consistent accuracy and anticipation. He showed nice touch on deep routes and good anticipation on slants. [WATCH Locker’s 40 yard dash] and [WATCH Jake Locker highlights.]

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