In order to fill the roster spot recently vacated by the injured Lestar Jean, the Vikings have signed former Cleveland Browns receiver Josh Cooper.
Cooper came out of Oklahoma State in 2012, catching passes from Brandon Weeden, before going undrafted and signing with the Cleveland Browns (to catch passes from Brandon Weeden).
Cooper is not a physical specimen, as NFL receivers go. At 5’10″ and 190 pounds, running a 4.65 40-yard dash at his Pro Day didn’t bode well (though a 1.58-second ten-yard dash isn’t bad). Decent but not great numbers in the short shuttle (4.35) and three-cone (7.12) reinforce this, as did his play on the field.
A saving grace could have been the fact that his hamstring was likely still injured when he ran through those tests (he had to skip the NFL Combine because of it).
His scouting report from Draft Insider sells his brains over his athleticism:
School: Oklahoma StatePosition: WRBio: Two-year starter who had 71 receptions/715 yards/3 TDs as a senior and 68/736/5 as a junior. Experienced return specialist.Positive: Reliable pass catcher who plays a tough brand of football. Sells routes, works hard to come free and goes over the middle to make the difficult reception. Solid route runner who quickly gets into breaks and stays low on exit then positions himself to make the reception. Displays good awareness on the field and consistently finds the soft spot in the defense to make himself an available target. Solid underneath receiver who lays out or extends to make the difficult reception.Negative: Displays minimal quickness and speed in his game. Struggles battling larger defenders. Marginally effective running after the catch.Analysis: Cooper is a slot receiver/return specialist and brings both toughness and intelligence. He has the skills necessary to make it as a fourth or fifth receiver and should stand out on both sides of special teams.
I’m not so sure, based on what I saw of him coming out, that I would have called him a “solid route runner,” as he’s been sloppy in his running and wasn’t necessarily sharp going into or out of cuts. He was relatively easy to defend (though his system helped) as a result. His best asset is his after-the-catch vision, probably a product of his experience as a returner. There are no parts of his game that stand out as better than most drafted receivers, and in fact he fell short of many undrafted free agents in this regard in quite a few categories.
He’s definitely a hard worker, and he probably deserves his reputation for intelligence if Norv Turner is willing to bring him on (likely in part due to his experience with Turner’s system). He has seventeen career receptions for 166 yards, mostly out of the slot. There’s a better chance than not this does not affect the receiver battle for the fifth or sixth spot very much at all.