As we've mentioned quite a bit this week, just because you're an undrafted free agent of even a rookie mini camp tryout it doesn't mean that your football career is over. Players like Adam Thielen, Marcus Sherels and C.J. Ham who are all presently on the Vikings roster are all a testament to this truth.
One of the latest in a line of players hoping to be the next in that lineage is a cornerback out of the University of Texas named Holton Hill.
Heading into the draft, Hill was expected to be a mid-round draft pick. NFL.com's scouting department graded him a 5.63 with the potential "to become an NFL starter" all on his draft profile. He's fast (4.49 forty), he's big (6'2" tall) and he's got skills. But as the draft continued, Hill kept slipping, and slipping, all the way out of the entirety of the seven round selection process.
Why, you might ask? Hill failed a drug-test at the NFL Combine which raised concerns about his character and focus heading into the league.
"We've done our due diligence," Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer said Friday. "We've talked with every one of his football coaches he's ever had in his entire life I think. We talked to a lot of people there at the University of Texas and we feel comfortable with the situation."
At least comfortable enough to sign him as a UFDA and bring him into the early camps, the Vikings are now attempting to decipher if Hill really has what it takes to stick at the NFL level and claim a roster spot here in Minnesota.
"We spent a lot of time with him," Zimmer continued. "He was here on our Top-30 and we met with him in Indianapolis [at the Combine]. He's a good football player. Big, fast, tough, good tackler...if he'll come in here and do what we ask him to do he's got a chance."
It was an opportunity squandered by a bad decision leading up to the combine, but Hill has received a second chance and it might play out to the benefit of the Minnesota Vikings if they can pull out of him the mid-round draftable talent and help him correct the side that led to the failed test.
"What he does with the opportunity is up to him."