Minnesota Vikings: Brock Vereen

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings' top-30 prospects event continues today, as draft hopefuls from around the country visit the team's facility in Eden Prairie, Minn., for meetings with coaches and team executives. We can add two more names to the list of prospects known to be visiting the Vikings.

Florida State running back Devonta Freeman is visiting the Vikings on Thursday, according to a league source, and the Baltimore Sun reported University of Virginia center Luke Bowanko is also coming to Minnesota for a Thursday visit.

Freeman, who declared for the draft after his junior year at Florida State, is just 5-foot-8, but weighed 206 pounds at the NFL scouting combine and could find success as an inside runner in the NFL. His 40-yard dash time was a modest 4.58 seconds, but he's got the kind of compact frame to slash through holes in an offensive line and gain tough yards. The Vikings could be in the market for a backup for Adrian Peterson, and Freeman is the second running back with whom the Vikings are known to have visited, behind Towson's Terrance West.

Bowanko measured 6-foot-5 and weighed in at 302 pounds at his pro day, and also saw time at guard for Virginia. He figures to start his NFL career as a backup at both interior line spots.

With those names added, here is an updated list of the players known to have visited the Vikings, either through ESPN or other media reports:
MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Vikings will begin welcoming players to town on Wednesday for their top-30 prospects event, which uses many of their 30 allotted pre-draft visits to create a two-day convention of sorts for draft hopefuls at the team's facility. The Vikings have held the event about 3 1/2 weeks before the draft for the past several years, and players will meet with coaches and team executives while in the Twin Cities.

Here is a partial list of prospects attending the event, based on what we've been able to confirm and what other outlets have reported:
The Vikings also met with Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater over the weekend, and reportedly met with Towson running back Terrance West on Tuesday.

The event doesn't necessarily indicate the prospects at the top of the Vikings' draft board -- some of the players brought to the Twin Cities for visits might not be taken until the third day of the draft -- and is an inconsistent predictor of whether the team will actually draft a player. The Vikings invited left tackle Matt Kalil to the event in 2012, and selected him fourth overall. Safety Harrison Smith wasn't at the event, and the Vikings traded back into the first round to select him in the same draft.

But even though the Vikings won't take a large number of the players they invite to the event, they can still use it for other purposes: possibly to learn more about a player's teammate, to make other teams think they're interested in a certain player or to file away information on a player for years down the road. That last reason can be particularly useful; after the Vikings signed defensive tackle Linval Joseph last month, general manager Rick Spielman mentioned the team hosted Joseph at its top-30 event before the New York Giants drafted him in 2010.

And of course, there are players like Mack and Barr, who could be legitimate options for the Vikings with the No. 8 overall pick. It's best not to treat the event as a be-all, end-all -- or anything close to it -- but for the Vikings, it can be a useful piece of the pre-draft evaluation puzzle.