Gophers host annual Pro Day

Ten former Minnesota football players worked out for NFL teams at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex on Monday.

Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson runs De'Vondre Campbell through a drill during Pro Day at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex on Monday.

Maddy Fox

Vikings defensive line coach Andre Patterson runs De’Vondre Campbell through a drill during Pro Day at the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex on Monday.

Mike Hendrickson

De’Vondre Campbell made the switch from defensive line to linebacker in college, but he tried to show coaches and scouts on Monday he has the ability to switch back to the position.
Campbell, who was listed at 6 feet, 5 inches tall, 239 pounds as a redshirt senior, worked out as both a linebacker and defensive lineman at Minnesota’s annual Pro Day on Monday to display his talents before the NFL draft in April.
“I bring versatility to any team because I can play multiple positions,” Campbell said. “That was a point of doing both linebacker and [defensive] line drills — to show them that I can do multiple.”
He was one of several former Minnesota players — along with fellow NFL combine participants Briean Boddy-Calhoun and Eric Murray — to work out for NFL teams in the Gibson-Nagurski Football Complex. 
The Gophers also had offensive lineman Brian Bobek, defensive lineman Theiren Cockran, safety Antonio Johnson, wide receiver KJ Maye, fullback Miles Thomas, running back Rodrick Williams Jr. and punter Peter Mortell at the event, along with football players from nearby colleges.
The Gophers announced on Monday that 28 different NFL teams were represented at Pro Day. Minnesota Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and several of the team’s coaches, including head coach Mike Zimmer, were on hand to watch.
“[Zimmer told me to] sprint through the drills, and do this and do that,” Campbell said. “He’s the man, so you want to listen to him.”
Murray, a cornerback, is Minnesota’s highest ranked player by and is projected to be fourth-round pick. Boddy-Calhoun is projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick, and Campbell is projected to be chosen in the fifth round.
“The predictions are so unstable, and you just can’t get caught up in it because once you let it fill your head, you start to lose a little bit of work ethic,” Murray said. “I’m just trying to stay grounded, stay humble.”
Campbell, Boddy-Calhoun and Murray participated mostly in positional drills in their workouts and elected to stand by their results in drills like the 40-yard dash from the NFL combine.
The Gophers have had four defensive players — including two defensive backs — drafted in the last two years, and the three players could add to a growing total.
“It starts with our coaching staff. When you turn the film on, [defenisve coordinator Jay Sawvel] always says ‘Do something that makes sense,’” Boddy-Calhoun said. “When you’re watching the film, you’re seeing [the defensive backs] do things that make sense and see us doing things for the right reason.”
The rest of Minnesota’s workout participants aren’t projected to be draft picks, though Maye said his agent has talked to six NFL teams about setting up visits and Mortell spoke with Vikings special teams coordinator Mike Priefer on Monday after working out outside.
Maye on NFL draft bubble
Maye caught 73 passes for the Gophers in 2015, a program record for a senior. His 73 receptions also rank second all-time in Minnesota history, and he added 773 yard and five touchdowns.
His productivity in his final season earned him an invitation to the annual Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 30, but it did not get him into the NFL Combine. Even so, Maye still has his eyes on the draft.
“I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get the invite,” Maye said. “At the same time, it worked in my favor because I was able to come out here and [have] a little more time to train.”
He plans to continue to work out in Minneapolis to prepare for a potential entrance to the NFL, either as a draft pick or an undrafted free agent.
Maye, who played quarterback in high school, said he hopes teams see his potential for improvement at wide receiver.
“I’m at an advantage among a lot of guys because I still have room to grow, room to learn, room to process everything and still learn about this position,” Maye said.
He participated in most of the available drills for coaches and scouts on Monday, including the 40-yard dash. He said he was unsure of his time but was certain of one thing.
“It wasn’t slow,” he said.