Minnesota Man

Darius Reynaud

Darius Reynaud may not have had his name called during the 2008 NFL Draft, but the former West Virginia standout moved quickly in securing a free agent contract.

Reynaud, West Virginia's leading receiver in 2007, has inked a free agent deal with the Minnesota Vikings.

As the two-day event at New York City's Radio City Music Hall grinded to an end on Sunday evening, Reynaud's phone was ringing off the hook.

"I heard from Houston, Baltimore and a few other teams today," Reynaud told BlueGoldNews.com by phone on Sunday night. "They kept saying I was on their board, but they were running out of picks. They wanted me to come as a free agent."

After weighing his options, Reynaud decided to pull the trigger on the offer from Minnesota.

"I talked to the Vikings and decided that they were the best fit for me," he explained. "I can compete for a spot at wide receiver in Minnesota, because they have some openings there."

Former South Carolina star Sidney Rice and recent free agent acquisition Bernard Berrian aside, the Vikings are not especially strong at wideout. Though Adrian Peterson's ability in the backfield is certainly the focal point of Minnesota's offense, Reynaud sees a great opportunity for sticking around in the NFC North.

"The Vikings) were talking about how good of a fit that I was to play the slot and also return kicks and punts," explained Reynaud, who could have earned an additional year of eligibility at WVU by graduating in May or August, but instead opted to turn pro. "They told me if I do well in camp, I should be in great shape to make the team."

The first step in that process comes next weekend when the Vikings will hold rookie mini-camp. Reynaud will fly to Minnesota on Thursday night, and participate in the weekend-long camp with his new team. Though the mini-camp will certainly not make or break his budding career, the speedy slot still hopes to turn some heads, notably those of the Vikings coaching staff.

"I'm going to turn a lot of heads up there at mini-camp," Reynaud vowed. "I can't wait to get there and meet with my new coaches and teammates.

"I feel like I'm a steal."

NOTE:Though he was not one of the 252 players drafted this weekend, Reynaud was happy to see teammates Steve Slaton, Owen Schmitt and Ryan Mundy picked up by NFL teams.

"It's a good thing to see a bunch of those guys getting picked up," he said. "I was talking with Mundy the other day and got a good feeling that he was going to get picked."

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