Vikings No. 7 pick: C Brandon Fusco, Slippery Rock

Posted April 30, 2011 @ 7:24 p.m.
Posted By Eric Edholm

Brandon Fusco is a developmental, small-school prospect who stood out at the Senior Bowl. He could add depth as an interior swing backup and might one day push John Sullivan for the starting center spot. Fusco has the grit and toughness the Vikings desire on their offensive line. Here's what PFW draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki wrote about Fusco in PFW's 2011 Draft Preview book:

Notes: Entered the program lightly recruited at 250 pounds and redshirted as an offensive tackle in 2006. Shifted to center the following season and proceeded to start all 44 games over the course of 2007-10. Honored with Division II Rimington Award and also named Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year following his senior season. Two-time team captain.

Positives: Outstanding size. Shuffles, slides and mirrors in pass protection. Smart and instinctive - handles all the line calls and shows. Takes good angles. High-intensity competitor. Very motivated and driven to succeed. Battled and competed at the Senior Bowl and held up well against better competition. Showed well in agility drills at the Combine, posting a 4.43-second 20-yard shuttle and 7.29-second 3-cone drill. Outstanding weight-room worker. Very durable and has not missed any time.

Negatives: Tends to play tall and upright and does not create movement in the run game. Can be outleveraged and lets defenders get into his frame. Not a consistent finisher. Grunted and labored through positional drills at the Combine.

Summary: Outstanding-sized, upright, zone blocker who should contend for a job as a swing interior backup and has the grit, tenacity and upside to will his way into a starting lineup. Versatility is a plus.

NFL projection: Fifth- to sixth-round pick.