EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. –Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman committed to revamping the offensive line for the 2017 season.
Spielman has already made significant adjustments to the unit, including signing tackles Riley Reiff and Mike Remmers in free agency and drafting center Pat Elflein (70th overall) and guard Danny Isidora (180th overall).
Additionally, one of the 13 undrafted rookies that Minnesota signed Aviante Collins is a tackle competing for the opportunity to add depth to the offensive line.
"I'm here to make a difference," Collins said. "I came here to prove to all 32 teams why I should have gotten drafted in the first place."
Added Collins: "I'm going to be one of the ones that makes the roster."
A four-year player at TCU who started all 13 games during both his freshman and senior seasons, Collins garnered some attention at the NFL Scouting Combine in the 40-yard dash. He clocked in at 4.81 seconds, topping the 2017 offensive line class.
It's a less-expected time from an offensive lineman, but Collins comes from speed. His father, Bill, and brother, Lavon, both made names for themselves as TCU sprinters, and Collins prides himself on sharing those athletic genes.
Whether he needs to make it to block an interior defensive lineman or break outside to the edge, Collins said that he's quick enough to block where he's needed.
"I'm fast, and I can get down there, no excuses," Collins said. "I try to use my speed as much as possible, but when it comes down to it, you know, you just have to play football."
It's not unprecedented for the Vikings to end up sticking with an undrafted player – just ask Adam Thielen or Marcus Sherels. And then there's Joe Berger, who started as a walk-on at Michigan Tech, wasn't drafted until the sixth round (by Carolina in 2005) and has worked his way into an integral role on Minnesota's roster, starting 32 regular-season games at center in 2015 and 2016.
Collins knows it's a longshot to make the Vikings final roster, but it's a shot he's excited to take.