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Vikings Invite 31 Rookies to Minicamp on Tryout Basis



EAGAN, Minn. — When the Vikings participated in the first walkthrough of rookie minicamp on Friday, the group included draft picks and undrafted rookie free agents alike.

But a crop of 31 rookies invited on a tryout basis also hit the field at Twin Cities Orthopedics Performance Center in Eagan.

That group included cornerback Mackenro Alexander, who is Vikings cornerback Mackensie Alexander's twin brother, along with three former Minnesota Gophers — running back/fullback Kobe McCrary, safety Adekunle Ayinde and defensive tackle Merrick Jackson. 

Mackenro Alexander began his college career at Auburn before transferring to a community college in Mississippi in 2015 and Iowa State in 2016. He played the past two seasons at Iowa State. The Vikings drafted Mackensie Alexander in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

A large majority of the players at rookie minicamp hail from schools in somewhat close proximity to Minnesota.

The list includes linebacker Zach Bassuener (Minnesota Duluth), guard Sam Lee (Augustana) and a trio of players from North Dakota State — center Austin Kuhnert, tackle Landon Lechler and defensive tackle Nate Tanguay. Guard Kellen Soulek played at South Dakota State.

Cornerback Craig James played at Southern Illinois, the alma mater of Vikings General Manager Rick Spielman.

Some players have family connections to the NFL.

Quarterback Matt Linehan, the son of former Vikings Offensive Coordinator Scott Linehan, was the lone quarterback invited on a tryout basis. He threw for 2,056 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions in nine games for Idaho in 2017. 

Wide receiver Chad Beebe played at Northern Illinois. His father, Don, played nine seasons in the NFL.

Other rookies invited on a tryout basis include:

Wide receiver Brandon Shed (Hobart), punter Hayden Hunt (Colorado State), running back Max Mickey (Sioux Falls), cornerback Dwayne Thomas (LSU), safety Andrew Williamson (Vanderbilt), safety Kamari Cotton-Moya (Iowa State) and tight end Johnny Stanton (UNLV).

Linebacker Ike Spearman (Eastern Michigan) is also in camp, as is linebacker Jared Farley (Northern Iowa), linebacker Brett Taylor (Western Illinois), linebacker Robert Spillane (Western Michigan) and linebacker Bo Bower (Iowa).

Offensive linemen include: center Jacob Judd (Western Illinois), center J.P. Quinn (Central Michigan) and guard/tackle Poet Thomas (Texas A&M-Commerce).

Defensive linemen include: defensive end Karter Schult (Northern Iowa), defensive tackle Nick Jacobsen (University of Wisconsin-River Falls) and defensive end Evan Panfil (Purdue).

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