The NFL Scouting Combine is just around the corner, and we now know all of the invited prospects.
According to the list released by the NFL Wednesday morning, 324 prospects are invited to attend this year's combine, which will take place in Indianapolis from March 1 through March 7.
Included among the prospects are the following former Minnesota Gophers:
OL Blaise Andries
OL Daniel Faalele
LB Boye Mafe
DL Esezi Otomewo
Mafe made an impact during last weekend's Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama, where he worked both ends of the defensive line and recorded 2.0 sacks.
Another name worth noting is Georgia running back James Cook, the younger brother of Vikings running back Dalvin Cook.
Last month, ESPN NFL Draft analyst Todd McShay had some praise for James:
"(He's) the most underrated RB in the 2022 draft class. He may never be the every-down starter for an NFL team, but he's such a versatile weapon," McShay said following Georgia's Orange Bowl win. "Love his vision and twitch as a runner, and he's a legit receiving threat in the slot and out of the backfield."
James Cook shined for the Bulldogs in 2021, helping Georgia win the national title.
He played in all 15 games, making three starts, and finished the season with career-best numbers in rushing (113 carries for 728 yards and seven touchdowns) and receiving (27 catches for 284 yards and four touchdowns).
PFF says Vikings should bring back Patrick Peterson
Last spring, the Vikings signed veteran cornerback Patrick Peterson to the squad on a one-year deal.
Peterson finished his 11th NFL season with 45 tackles (34 solo), one interception, two tackles for loss and five passes defensed. Worth noting, though, is that teams avoided throwing often toward Peterson, meaning the 31-year-old didn't get a ton of action.
Analytics site Pro Football Focus last week picked one “impending free agent that every NFL team should bring back." PFF's Sam Monson said Minnesota should prioritize returning Peterson. He wrote:
The Vikings have a new regime in charge for the first time in years. The new group has a lot of work that needs to be done to rebuild a roster fallen into disrepair, including finding an entire group of viable starting cornerbacks. Peterson is a shadow of the player he once was, but he is worth bringing back simply to buy the team some time. The 2021 version of Peterson was still a viable option, particularly if he isn't the best corner on the field. Peterson had a PFF coverage grade of 61.0, allowing a passer rating of 89.0 when targeted, a number that flatters his performance a little.
As for the Vikings NFC North peers?
Monson opined that Chicago should re-sign guard James Daniels, the Lions should bring back running back Godwin Igwebuike and Green Bay should bring back receiver Davante Adams – regardless of who's under center for the Packers in 2022.
If Aaron Rodgers returns to the Packers, he needs his one elite receiver with him for the offense to remain competitive. If Rodgers leaves, the Packers can't afford to give Jordan Love the keys with no viable receiving options to throw to. Either way, they desperately need to retain Adams, even if they need to use the franchise tag to get it done. Adams is the best route-runner in the game and has dropped just six passes over the last 347 targets thrown his way. He would be the best free agent to hit the open market in years, and the Packers simply can't afford to let that happen.