Every year, every NFL team hosts a number of potential draft prospects at their facility. Some of them they're very interested in and would like to legitimately draft. Some players will be long gone by the time their draft position rolls around, but still host them anyway, just in case. Some they have no interest in and host these players to throw out some false alarms as part of a larger draft strategy, and some players they don't host they end up drafting. In the first round, even. Like Harrison Smith last year, for example.
Today, the Vikings hosted a number of players, as reported by 1500espn.com's Tom Pelissero, to include top receiver prospects DeAndre Hopkins, Keenan Allen...and CB Tyrann Mathieu, aka the 'Honey Badger'.
Hopkins and Allen make a lot of sense--both guys are top receiver prospects, some to most mock drafts have both of them being available when the Vikings select at 23, and wide receiver is arguably the Vikings top need. A lot of people think Allen will be selected by the Vikings if he's available, but Hopkins would be a good alternative, if that's the direction the Vikings go in.
Now, this visit has no bearing on whether or not the Vikings will draft Matthieu or not. But it is interesting, if nothing else. Matthieu is one of the more intriguing players in the draft, and before his celebrated problems at LSU he was considered a sure fire first round pick. He's one of the top cornerback prospects, and was a fringe Heisman candidate in 2011 as a extremely dangerous punt returner.
One thing of note Tom P mentioned in his article bears repeating:
Private workouts on campus tend to be stronger indicators. The past two years, for instance, the Vikings used late-round draft picks on guard Brandon Fusco and place-kicker Blair Walsh after quietly working them out on campus at Slippery Rock and Georgia, respectively.
If that's the case, keep in mind the names Manti Te'o and WR Robert Woods of USC. The Vikings attended both the USC and Notre Dame pro days, and both of those players are guys at positions of need as well.
Does these visits mean anything? No. But do they mean nothing? Probably not.