The Minnesota Vikings pushed their chips in on an undrafted rookie wide receiver with plenty to prove as the son of a Super Bowl winner.
Blake Proehl, son of Ricky Proehl, received a $15,000 signing bonus and $115,000 guaranteed by signing a rookie contract worth $660,000 with the Vikings, Chris Tomasson of the Pioneer Press reported. Ricky, a third-round pick out of Wake Forest in 1990 and went on to play in two Super Bowls, said his son has all the tools to warrant a draft pick.
“I’m pretty objective. I’m not saying he should have been a third-round pick, but I do think he was a draftable prospect,” Ricky told Pioneer Press reporter Chris Tomasson. “But instead of proving everybody wrong, I think he’s going to go out to prove that Minnesota made the right decision.”
Blake took to Twitter to send the NFL a message.
Proehl Passes on NFC North Rivals, Models Game After Adam Thielen
A big reason was his close study of the Vikings over the past few years — specifically Pro Bowl wide receiver and fellow undrafted prospect Adam Thielen.
“People ask me who I model my game after, and I say Adam Thielen,” Blake said, per Tomasson. I love how he’s a student of the game, and I love his route running.”
Blake, standing 6-foot-1 and 186 pounds, hauled in 140 catches for 1,576 yards in three seasons at East Carolina as the team’s most reliable receiver. Blake’s size diminished his draft stock and likely will force him to adjust to a slot role in NFL, similar to the transition Ricky underwent as an undersized receiver in his 17 years in the NFL.
Ricky appeared in three Super Bowls, winning one in 2000 with the St. Louis Rams as a member of “The Greatest Show on Turf.” He also received a ring in the Indianapolis Colts’ 2007 Super Bowl win; however, he was inactive in Super Bowl XLI against the Chicago Bears.
Proehl Projects as a Bubble Player on the Roster
Proehl, like Thielen, will have to prove his worth in training camp this offseason to make the 53-man roster.
“He’s a good route runner,” Ricky said of Blake, per Tomasson. “He’s got great hands. I think he’s going to shock a lot of people when they see his athleticism. He’s a low 4.4, high 4.3 (seconds) guy (in the 40-yard dash). He’s got great quickness and great foot speed for a guy his size.”
Proehl will start at the bottom of the pecking order at wide receiver and projects to fit a Chad Beebe mold on the roster in his first season as a pro.