Minnesota Vikings Undrafted Free Agents: Tracking the Latest Signings
Over the past 30 years, the NFL has turned what was just hours and hours of a bunch of old guys in suits in a hotel ballroom into a national prime-time red-carpet Radio City Music Hall gala event.
What happens after the fanfares fades and the Klieg lights go dark, though, hasn't changed one bit.
Across the nation, some college football players are glued to their phones, waiting desperately for a team, or their agent, to call. Others are wielding multiple phones, frantically comparing contract offers and depth chart outlooks and weather and tax rates and living situations, hoping they make the right choice for what might be their only shot to play football for a living.
On the other end of the line, teams like the Minnesota Vikings started working the phones during the final rounds of the draft, calling small armies of prospects trying to gauge interest, availability and contract demands.
Somehow, these players and teams settle on each other, and somewhere between a handful and a couple dozen undrafted free agents come to every NFL team's camp every season.
Here at Bleacher Report, we're keeping track of all of these crazy, quickie deals so you don't have to work your phone into overtime like the teams and players do.
If you want to know which NFL hopefuls are coming to Mankato this season, just keep refreshing this signing tracker to find out!
Jerodis Williams, Furman RB
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Furman is not thought of as an NFL talent factory, but running back Jerodis Williams just might have what it takes to succeed at the next level. At 5'10", 203 pounds, Williams has enough size. Williams didn't receive a combine invite, but at his pro day Williams reportedly ran a 4.51 40-yard dash, jumped an outstanding 39.5 vertical inches, and broad jumped 10'1", per NFLDraftScout.com.
Williams, according to NFL.com draft guru Gil Brandt, showed natural pass-catching ability at his pro day. With each additional tool an undrafted free agent has in his bag, the odds increase that he can help the team.
Erik Highsmith, North Carolina WR
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Announced by the Vikings on the official team site.
6'0, 185-pound Erik Highsmith has legitimate NFL size, and his 34.5" vertical leap shows NFL athleticism. A strong runner after the catch, Highsmith is an excellent fit for the VIkings' short passing game.
Highsmith had an impressive junior season, but failed to take the next step his last year at North Carolina. If he can build a rapport with Ponder, there's room at the bottom of the Vikings' receiver depth chart for Highsmith.
Bradley Randle, UNLV RB
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Announced by the Vikings on the official team website.
Bradley Randle, per the UNLV website, is just the third Runnin' Rebel to leave school early for the NFL draft. Oddly enough, he was only the No. 2 back in the offense.
The 5'7", 190-pound Randle still led UNLV with nine touchdowns, including eight rushing, and 635 yards on 138 attempts (a 4.6 yards-per-carry average). Per NFLDraftScout.com, Randle cut a 4.47 40-yard dash at UNLV's pro day, and notched an impressive 36" vertical leap.
Randle passes the Viking eyeball test. Like Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart, Randle has a low, wide build and natural athleticism. Randle's got a long way to go from UNLV backup to backing up the best running back on the planet, but there is a chance.
James Vandenberg, Iowa QB
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The official Iowa Football Twitter feed confirms Vandenberg has signed a free-agent deal with the Vikings.
James Vandenberg doesn't have the strongest arm, or the fleetest feet. He won't challenge Christian Ponder for the starting job, and he likely won't push Matt Cassell for the backup gig, either. In all likelihood, the native Iowan will have the honor of being a camp arm for the Vikings, whose short, catch-and-run passing game suits Vandenberg's strengths.
Nicholas Edwards, Eastern Washington WR
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Edwards, a 6'3", 200-pound receiver from Tacoma, Washington, walked on at Eastern Washington after receiving no college scholarship offers, according to the Eastern Washington athletics site. Edwards is No. 2 in school history with 29 touchdowns, No. 4 all-time with 178 receptions and No. 10 with 2,198 yards.
Edwards doesn't have deep speed; his pro day 40-yard dash time was 4.60 seconds, per NFLDraftScout.com. With an astounding 40" vertical leap, though, Edwards could be an impressive red zone weapon.
Zach Line, Southern Methodist RB
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Reported by Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun.
A big back, Zach Line stands 6'0" tall and weighs 232 pounds. Line was incredibly productive at SMU. In three seasons as a starter, he ran for at least 1,200 yards rushing and 10 touchdowns every year.
Line may have trouble finding a groove in the NFL. Like former New York Giants tailback Ron Dayne, Line is big but is more of a finesse runner best used as a one-cut tailback.
Duron Carter, WR
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Rayon Simmons, Winona State RB
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Announced by Rayon Simmons on Twitter.
Camden Wentz, North Carolina State C
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Announced by Camden Wentz on his Twitter feed.
Brandan Bishop, North Carolina State S
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Announced by Brandan Bishop on his Twitter feed.