Is it just me or is the veteran combine a new thing? I don’t really remember the NFL having these open try-out type situations for veterans back in the 90’s, but then again we didn’t have access to as much information back then, even if we were patient enough to wait our turn in line to get on America Online (Kids today have zero idea the struggles we went through back then). Regardless, it looks like the Vikings continued their active off-season by adding three vets yesterday.
The three are “cornerback” Terrell Sinkfield, tight end Nick Truesdell and wide receiver Mitch Mathews. Vikings fans should be familiar with Terrell Sinkfield, as he was on the Vikings roster through training camp last season. Sinkfield is (in)famous for “running” the fastest 40 ever with a sub 4.2 (4.19) unofficial count at Minnesota’s pro-day back in 2013, that has been completely debunked over time. But still, it’s looking like the speedster is bringing his talents to the other side of the ball after playing wide receiver for most of his adult life (Even if he was a tweener in college, which I’m still trying to ascertain). Another interesting aspect of the Vikings adding Sinkfield is that he can and does return kicks and he did last season in training camp (And in some pre-season games, if I recall correctly).
Back to not playing special teams, if Sinkfield can convert to the other side of the ball, he’d be the third corner on the Vikings roster that stands at six feet or taller (After Trae Waynes and Xavier Rhodes). The idea of it is intriguing to say the least and considering Sinkfield’s unofficial speed, this is a low risk, high reward move. Something the Vikes nailed with all three signings.
Mitch Mathews is a 220 pound, 6’5″ receiver out of BYU. Mathews was undrafted last season and bounced around a bit (First signing with the Kansas City Chiefs, then the Cleveland Browns), never lasting more than a month with either team’s practice squads. His Wikipedia page is pretty empty, so let’s take a look at his draft profile from NFL.com from last year.
Wow. While this analysis graded Mathews a 5.19 (Out of 10, I assume?) it’s hard to see why. The guy is a beast, physically, and his strengths seem to really outweigh his nit-picky negatives (“Sure, he’s fast, but not the right kind of fast”). He seems to play the same type of game that the Vikings expected their first round pick from last season to, in Laquon Treadwell. He utilizes his body to shield the ball from the defender, he is capable of going up and fighting for the ball and can manipulate his large frame to land in bounds. Apparently, he has good hands as well. For a veteran combine guy he definitely checks a lot of the boxes that the Vikings need, in his size (He almost has 11 inch hands, too), speed (Ran a 4.47 40 during his pro day, that’s faster than Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen) and the ability to go up after the ball (36″ vertical). So definitely don’t sleep on Mathews, especially with Sam Bradford slinging the ball.
Lastly, the Vikings picked up Nick Truesdell, a 6’6″ tight end who received offers from NINE different teams after his workout at the veteran combine this week. That should tell you a lot about the 27 year old former Arena football standout. The Vikings are in the market for a second pass catching tight end and Truesdell certainly has the size and skill to make an immediate impact.
Would it be weird to say that I’m more excited after the veteran combine than I was after the first week and a half of free agency? Again, I’m a sucker for skill positions, especially pass catching ones and it seems like the Vikings found some real great (At least on-paper) prospects (If you can call veterans that) this week.
For a team that was supposedly going into yet another rebuilding mode only a couple weeks ago (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge), they certainly seem to be making some great, level-headed moves that open up their options in next months draft. Considering the recent news from Sharrif Floyd, it looks like they’ll need as many as they can get.