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A young Randle

Vikings' pick draws comparisons -- beyond face paint

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Posted: Sunday April 16, 2000 07:34 PM

  Chris Hovan After not drafting an interior lineman in the first round in the '90s, Minnesota made DT Chris Hovan their man Saturday. Harry How/Allsport

EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -- The Minnesota Vikings, desperately in need of help on defense, hope Chris Hovan is the answer.

The Vikings selected Hovan, an All-American defensive tackle from Boston College, with the 25th pick in the NFL draft Saturday.

Hovan, a 6-foot-2, 305-pounder who can also play nose tackle and defensive end, has been compared with a young John Randle -- and not just because Hovan paints black triangles on his face like Randle does before games or talks as much as Randle does on the field.

"We had Hovan rated very high," Vikings coach Dennis Green said. "He's a very tenacious player and is very physical. ... He's exactly the kind of guy we need."

Hovan had 11 sacks in 1999 for the Eagles and 20 tackles for a loss. He is known for having perfect technique and is powerfully strong and quick for someone his size.

He gained a reputation in college for spending a lot of time in the weight room and got bigger and stronger in each of his four years in college.

Scouts say Hovan is one of the most explosive defensive linemen in the draft and can beat offensive linemen inside or out.

Vikings First-Round Draft Picks
Year  Player  Pos  School 
2000  Chris Hovan  DT  Boston College 
1999  Daunte Culpepper  QB  Central Florida 
1999  Dimitrius Underwood  DE  Mich. State 
1998  Randy Moss  WR  Marshall 
1997  Dwayne Rudd  LB  Alabama 
1996  Duane Clemons  LB  California 
1995  Derrick Alexander  DE  Florida State 
1995  Korey Stringer  OT  Ohio State 
1994  Dewayne Washington  CB  N.C. State 
1993  Robert Smith  RB  Ohio State 
1992  NO PICK       
1991  NO PICK       
1990  NO PICK       
1989  NO PICK       
1988  Randall McDaniel  Arizona State 
1987  D.J. Dozier  RB  Penn State 
1986  NO PICK       
1985  Chris Doleman  LB  Pittsburgh  
1984  Keith Millard  DE  Washington 
1983  Joey Browner  DB  USC 
1982  Darrin Nelson  RB  Stanford 
1981  NO PICK       
1980  Doug Martin  DT  Washington 
1979  Ted Brown  RB  North Carolina 
1978  Randy Holloway  DE  Pittsburgh 
1977  Tommy Kramer  QB  Rice 
1976  James White  DT  Oklahoma State 
1975  Mark Mullaney  DE  Colorado State 
1974  Fred McNeill  LB  UCLA  
1974  Steve Riley  USC 
1973  Chuck Foreman  RB  Miami 
1972  Jeff Siemon  LB  Stanford  
1971  Leo Hayden  RB  Ohio State 
1970  John Ward  Oklahoma State 
Since 1970
X -- No. 1 pick

Minnesota's defense, ranked 27th in the NFL last season, sorely needed a boost. The defensive line took a hit when Duane Clemons left for Kansas City as a free agent and Chris Doleman retired. Those two combined for 17 sacks last year. If that weren't bad enough, the defense suffered again when cornerback Jimmy Hitchcock, the anchor of a mediocre secondary, signed with the Carolina Panthers. John Burrough is the likely starter at left end, with Fernando Smith at right end. Hitchcock's departure left second-year man Kenny Wright and converted wide receiver Robert Tate as the starting cornerbacks. Savvy mainstay Robert Griffith starts at safety. Pressure on Green increased to draft defensive help after selecting quarterback Daunte Culpepper and Dimitrius Underwood, a defensive end who was released before the season, in last year's draft. Last year was the first time Green had complete control of the franchise's player personnel moves.

In the second round, the Vikings also moved to improve their defensive line, selecting Wake Forest defensive tackle Fred Robbins (6-foot-4, 312 pounds) and Miami defensive end Michael Boireau. Minnesota must replace defensive ends Duane Clemons, who left for Kansas City, and Chris Doleman, who retired. The pair had 17 sacks between them.

"These are three guys who want to play," Green said. "Competition is always good."

Green said the 6-foot-4, 265-pound Boireau would have been a hotter commodity in the draft had he played more with the Hurricanes. Boireau played two seasons at Northeast Mississippi Junior College before transferring to Miami, where he started just one season.

"He is a guy that charges very quickly and has a tremendous amount of height," Green said, noting Boireau can play both defensive end spots.

Boireau said he knows he'll have to bulk up for the NFL. 'I don't want to be too light in the behind,' Boireau said.

The only offensive player the Vikings picked among their first seven selections was running back Doug Chapman of Marshall, who was taken in the third round.

On Sunday, the Vikings dipped into the small-school ranks in the fourth round for outside linebacker Antonio Wilson from Texas A&M-Commerce. He's not the first Lions alum named Wilson to join the Vikings -- former Vikings quarterback Wade Wilson played at the school in the late 1970s when it was called East Texas State.

The 6-foot-2, 245-pound Wilson, a consensus Division II first-team All-American and the Lone Star Conference's Defensive Lineman of the Year, said he didn't think playing at a small college put him at a disadvantage.

"I thought I'd be higher, but it really didn't matter," Wilson said. "I'm going to go in and compete. Football is the same everywhere."

Later in the fourth round, the Vikings stayed close to home by drafting All-American safety Tyrone Carter from the University of Minnesota. The NCAA's leading tackler among defensive backs was passed by many teams because he is only 5-feet-9.

Green said Carter, who returned punts and kickoffs for the Golden Gophers, will compete for playing time at both cornerback and safety but the Vikings liked Carter's potential to contribute on special teams.

"We think he'll be one of the most dynamic special teams players in the league," Green said. "The more things you can do, the better chance you have to be on the field.

In the fifth round, the Vikings took wide receiver Troy Walters, the son of Vikings assistant coach Trent Walters. He's only 5-foot-7.

Minnesota had no selections in the sixth round. In the seventh, the Vikings took Mike Malano, an offensive lineman who played guard and center at San Diego State; Giles Cole, a tight end from Texas A&M-Kingville; and Lewis Kelly, an offensive lineman from South Carolina State.

Related information
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Atfer misfires in '99 draft, Vikings still need defense
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