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Lunchbreak: Highlights 2024 'All-Combine Team'

With the NFL Scouting Combine now in the rear-view mirror, free agency and the NFL Draft are fast-approaching.

Teams will decide how best to build their 2024 rosters and what rookie prospects may help them do that.'s Nick Shook recently posted the "All-Combine Team" offense and defense, highlighting prospects who shined brightest in Indianapolis. At quarterback, Shook noted Washington's Michael Penix, Jr., and wrote the following:

With most of the other top quarterbacks (Caleb Williams, Drake Maye and Jayden Daniels) declining to participate in Saturday's workout, Penix took up the mantle and impressed. He routinely showcased the live arm that made him a Heisman Trophy finalist this past season, launching a few gorgeous deep passes and ripping laser-guided rockets to targets on outs, deep corners, deep ins, comebacks, etc. He finished the day with a perfect end zone fade to his Washington teammate, Rome Odunze, capping a stellar performance that highlighted all of his strengths.

Shook opined that Penix would be a good fit for the Vikings, Falcons, Broncos or Raiders.

This year's receiver class has been said to be deep, with talented wideouts likely still available into the draft's final day. Shook spotlighted Georgia's Ladd McConkey, Odunze and Texas' Xavier Worthy, who broke the all-time combine record in the 40-yard dash with an official time of 4.21 seconds.

On defense, Shook recognized the performances of interior linemen Braden Fiske (Florida State) and Byron Murphy II (Texas), not to be confused with Vikings CB Byron Murphy, Jr. Shook believes Fiske could be a good fit for Minnesota, as well as for the Browns, Jets and Giants.

Fiske is a walking, running, cutting, bag-bashing powder keg of a football player. He packed explosiveness and intensity into his workout, filling every rep with passionate force, even going as far as to utter "OH YEAH!" when he crossed the finish line on a blazing-fast 40-yard dash (4.78 seconds). Fiske went full speed while also finding a way to stay under control and crush each drill. He put on a show that surpassed the testing results – which were excellent. I can't wait to see where he lands in the NFL.

Shook also pointed to Fiske's Seminoles teammate, edge rusher Jared Verse, as a potential fit for the Vikings. Verse also could be a match for the Raiders, Lions, Seahawks or Panthers, he said.

Verse is my favorite player in this class not named Marvin Harrison, Jr. He finished fourth in his position group with a 4.58 40-yard dash and tied for first in Next Gen Stats score (84), executing nearly every on-field drill with the precision of a seasoned combine veteran. His performance was controlled, sharp and explosive, matching the Florida State tape that has made him one of the best prospects of the 2024 draft. There's no reason to feel anything but good about his chances of success at the next level.

The other edge rushers honored on the All-Combine Team were UCLA's Laiatu Latu and Alabama's Dallas Turner, whom Shook also said would be a good fit for Minnesota – along with Philadelphia, Houston, Detroit and Carolina.

Chop Robinson performed well enough to slot in here, but it's just too tough to look past Turner's testing results. He ran a 4.46 40 at 247 pounds, broke 40 inches in the vertical leap, tied for second among edge rushers in the broad jump (10-foot-7) and fit in perfectly while working out with the linebackers. I'd have liked to see him stacked up against fellow edge rushers, but if anything, we learned he has more range for usage in the NFL than the average edge rusher. He's going to be a star.

Visit Shook's offensive and defensive articles to check out his full All-Combine rosters.

Gophers teammates Nubin & Spann-Ford among NFL hopefuls

Former Gophers safety Tyler Nubin and tight end Brevyn Spann-Ford roomed together at the NFL Scouting Combine, where they took the next step in preparing for a chance to play at the next level.

Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune chatted with the teammates in Indy about the experience they called "full-circle." He wrote:

The massive, 6-foot-7 Spann-Ford got a call Thursday morning from former Gophers and NFL tight end Maxx Williams. He also credited Ko Kieft, another former Gophers tight end now with the Buccaneers.

Nubin, the record-setting ball hawk, watched Bucs safety Antoine Winfield, Jr.'s 2019 season with the Gophers as a wide-eyed freshman.

"I was just talking to him the other day," Nubin said. "It doesn't surprise me what he's been able to do in the league because I was able to see it firsthand: how he handled himself and how he carried himself in college. He was already a pro before he was a pro."

Krammer opined that Nubin "has a claim as the NFL Draft's best safety" after he totaled 13 interceptions in 55 games for Minnesota, a program record. Winfield, Jr., had nine picks during his Gophers career.

Spann-Ford was once a three-star recruit out of St. Cloud Tech, arriving in college as a lanky receiver. He developed into a 260-pound tight end well-equipped to do the blocking required for a run-heavy Gophers offense.


Spann-Ford grew up a Vikings fan. He said staying in Minnesota "would definitely be a dream come true" if they drafted him.

PFF tabs Josh Oliver as Vikings best 2023 free agent addition

Analytics site Pro Football Focus recently offered opinions on the best 2023 free agent signing for each NFL team.

PFF's Mason Cameron said Minnesota's top free agent addition last spring was tight end Josh Oliver. He wrote:

After showing off his blocking ability in Baltimore, Oliver cashed in with a $21 million contract in Minnesota. Oliver is particularly aggressive as a run blocker, producing an 18.1 percent impact block rate on his way to an impressive 75.7 run-blocking grade in 2023.

Around the rest of the division, Cameron highlighted Bears linebacker T.J. Edwards, Packers safety Jonathan Owens and Lions running back David Montgomery.

The move from Chicago to Detroit helped facilitate the highest-graded rushing season (83.4) of Montgomery's career. His nearly 1,200 yards and 15 touchdowns were both career highs for the dynamic back, while his 54 forced missed tackles ranked ninth at the position this past season.