NFC Notes: Locke, Seahawks, Cardinals, Bucs

A fifth-round pick in 2013, Jeff Locke looks to be set to face some competition to finish out his contract with the Vikings. Minnesota is expected to add rookie punter Taylor Symmank on Monday, Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press reports.

The Vikings brought in Symmank and Nick O’Toole to compete at their rookie minicamp this weekend, but O’Toole left the Twin Cities on Sunday, while Symmank looks to be staying. Symmank averaged 46 yards per punt last season at Texas Tech. After Locke’s per-punt figure hovered at 44.2 yards in each of his first two seasons, it slunk to an NFL-worst 41.6 in 2015.

Symmank told Tomasson he’s been asked to take a physical with the Vikings, who currently have 89 players on their roster. Locke has a nonguaranteed $721K due this season.

Check out the latest from around the league as teams continue to assemble their 90-man rosters.

  • The Seahawks envision former Notre Dame running back/wide receiver C.J. Prosise becoming a potential replacement for Fred Jackson as the team’s third-down back, Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times notes. Seattle initially placed the third-round pick with the running backs to start its rookie minicamp but shuttled him into receiver drills on Sunday. Converted to running back before the 2015 season, Prosise totaled 1,337 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns in 2015. “I’ve never had anyone that was a receiver that went to running back that could do both. You commit one way or the other,” Pete Carroll told media, including Condotta. “… It’s a real prize for us. I don’t really have a guy to compare him to at this point.”
  • Also from Condotta: Rees Odhiambo will compete with Mark Glowinski for the Seahawks‘ starting left guard position, and Carroll plans to use Jarran Reed at both nose tackle and 3-technique. “It’s just such a crucial pick for us,” Carroll said. “Jarran can really jump right in and give us the stout play, he’s just got a great savvy for the running game. He’ll play both spots, for sure.”
  • The Cardinals are planning to replace the still-unsigned Jerraud Powers with Justin Bethel, but given that third-round pick Brandon Williams has only played the position for one season after playing running back from 2011-14, Arizona could use a veteran corner to help lead Patrick Peterson‘s cadre of sidekicks, Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic writes. Beyond Bethel and Peterson, no Cardinal cornerback has more than one year of NFL experience. Joining Powers among the top unattached corners right now are fellow former Cardinal Antonio Cromartie, Leon Hall and Phillip Adams.
  • Although Ryan Smith lined up at cornerback in 2015 for North Carolina Central, he’s expected to work at safety for the Buccaneers, Roy Cummings of Today’s Pigskin writes. The Bucs added Vernon Hargreaves III in the first round after signing Brent Grimes in an attempt to fortify a cornerback corps that helped yield 31 touchdown passes last season and allow the second-highest quarterback rating in the league. The 5-foot-11, 198-pound Smith arrived in Tampa as the No. 108 overall pick and will compete with the likes of Chris Conte and Keith Tandy for playing time on the Bucs’ back line. Cummings identifies Bradley McDougald as a starter at either the free or strong safety spots, with his complement undecided. Pro Football Focus graded Conte as the Bucs’ best safety last season and tabbed the now-27-year-old veteran as its No. 32 safety.
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