MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - Another small college wide receiver from Minnesota could join the Vikings. Ryan Hoag, the all-time leading receiver at Division III
Gustavus, worked out with the team Thursday. Hoag was invited to return Friday and will probably sign a contract, according to his agent, Jason Waugh.
Hoag, a 6-foot-2, 196-pounder, was last year's Mr. Irrelevant the billing given to the final pick in the draft. The Oakland Raiders selected him, but
he was cut in training camp after straining his hamstring.
The New York Giants, who added him to their practice squad last November, released Hoag in May after he dislocated his left ring finger. Team
officials were unavailable for comment Thursday afternoon, but if the Vikings sign him it will be because of his speed. Hoag said he ran a pair of
40-yard dashes in less than 4[ seconds.
"Since I've been 5 years old, I bled purple,''
Hoag said. "It made or broke my week, depending on how the Vikes did. But until my name's on
the paper, I feel like I should bite my lip a little bit.''
His college coach, Jay Schoenebeck, was happy to hear the news.
"It's a business at that level and sometimes they don't have that time to be that patient with people, so you never know what's going to
Schoenebeck said. "Hey, he's in a camp again and that's all you can do. He's got his foot in the door and now he's got to make the
most of his opportunity.''
Hoag believes he's much better prepared to begin another NFL camp after the mental and physical rigors of his experience with the Raiders caught him a
little off guard.
"Ryan's going to compete as hard as anybody that they have,''
Waugh said. "He's second to none as far as work ethic.''
Hoag's ticket might be on special teams as a kickoff returner, punt returner or even as a kickoff coverage guy. The Vikings are deep at wide receiver,
with All-Pro Randy Moss and newcomer Marcus Robinson backed up by Nate Burleson, Kelly Campbell and Keenan Howry. Kenny Clark, the cousin of
quarterback Daunte Culpepper, is still around. St. Cloud State alum Ben Nelson, who spent the spring in NFL Europe, will be at training camp, as will
Aaron Hosack formerly of the University of Minnesota.
"It's going to be tough,''
The Vikings signed St. John's standout Blake Elliott, who played against Hoag in the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, as an undrafted
free agent in April. Elliott broke his left leg during a developmental camp practice earlier this month and will likely spend the season on injured
reserve. Hoag, who played one year of high-school football at Minneapolis Washburn, finished his career with the Gusties as the program's all-time
leader in yards receiving (2,232) and touchdown receptions (29).