INDIANAPOLIS – Carter Coughlin and Kamal Martin are together again, this time as roommates at the NFL scouting combine.
The former Gophers linebackers, and childhood friends, are trying to prove to teams they’re worth picks in April’s draft.
General managers know they’re a package deal, right?
“That could be the plan,” Martin said Thursday. “No, but we joke about it all the time because we’ve been roommates since June 2016 and it hasn’t stopped. We both signed with the same agent. We both room together where we’re training and rooming here. It’s a funny and crazy story.”
Interviews with coaches and scouts as well as medical evaluations by team doctors have kept them busy. Medical tests might be critical for Martin’s draft stock after undergoing knee surgery that will keep him from Saturday night’s on-field athletic testing. Coughlin, third in Gophers history with 22.5 sacks, will run drills as a linebacker. He’s eager to prove his athleticism in speed testing such as the 40-yard dash.
“It’s going to be faster than teams think,” Coughlin said.
Coughlin, from Eden Prairie, and Martin, from Burnsville, were pleasantly surprised during informal meetings with the Vikings to see former teammate Nick Rallis, a Vikings defensive quality control coach and “big brother” when they were freshmen and he was a senior.
“Back when Kamal and I didn’t know what we were doing,” Coughlin said, “the only reason we could play was because Nick was telling us pre-snap what we were supposed to do.”
‘Oh, I hope he makes it’
Kicker Dan Bailey and punter/holder Britton Colquitt are scheduled to become unrestricted free agents March 18, but Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said he’d like to see both re-signed, after the veterans stabilized both positions and the field-goal operation. The Vikings ranked fourth on field-goal attempt percentage (93.1%), their best showing since 2012.
“Both of those guys did really well, along with [long snapper Austin] Cutting,” Zimmer said. “I would love to have both of those two guys back, if I can. You know, finally, for the first time in six years I didn’t say, ‘Oh, I hope he makes it.’ ”
Backup QB market?
Quarterback Sean Mannion is also set to become a free agent in March. The Vikings sound likely to be in the market for a replacement, via free agency or a rare late-round pick, after Mannion lost his only start during the season finale against the Bears with the backup offense. He completed 12 of 21 passes for 126 yards and two interceptions.
“We want to be able to have somebody who, if he has to go in for three games, can win those three games,” Zimmer said. “It’s not to be another coach for Kirk, OK? It’s for somebody who can help you with that, but at the end of the day he’s got to be able to play, too.”
Hall of Fame lessons guided LSU tight end Thaddeus Moss through the combine this week as his father, Randy Moss, the former Vikings receiver, gave one prospect a unique advantage in Indianapolis. Moss opted not to compete in Thursday night’s on-field drills, saving them for LSU’s pro day on April 3. He’s billed as a hard-nosed blocker with the trademark Moss edge.
“He’s been through a lot and seen a lot,” Thaddeus Moss said. “This process itself, it’s nothing new. It’s nothing changed. He has the answers to everything. I’m leaning on him during this time.”