Daily Egyptian

Pruitt and Agnew earn NFL contracts, Hadfield gets camp invitation

By Brent Meske, @brentmeskeDE

The NFL held its draft beginning Thursday in Chicago, and all former Salukis were still on the big board when Saturday came around and teams made their picks for rounds four through seven. 

With the 143rd pick of the draft, the Minnesota Vikings selected former SIU tight end MyCole Pruitt in the fifth round. 

Pruitt became the first SIU alumnus to be drafted since 2011 when cornerback Korey Lindsey was drafted in the seventh round by the Cincinnati Bengals. Pruitt was also the highest draft pick since running back Brandon Jacobs was selected 110th by the New York Giants in 2004. 

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Pruitt, who will leave for Minnesota on Thursday, said his agent handed his phone to Pruitt when the call came in. 

“I really can’t even explain it, it was surreal,” he said. 

Pruitt joins a Vikings team with five tight ends already on the roster but a team that relies on the pass. Last season, Minnesota passed for 3,566 yards and rushed for 1,804. 

Tight end Kyle Rudolph was seventh on the team in receptions and sixth in receiving yards with 24 and 231, respectively. 

In a blog post on the Vikings website, team Executive Vice President and General Manager Rick Spielman said Pruitt will work nicely in offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s offense. 

“[Pruitt] has very good hands, he’s aggressive as a blocker,” Spielman, an SIU alumnus, said. “As [Turner and I] sat there and talked about [Pruitt] through the draft meetings, we felt that we can do a lot of different things with him and play him at a lot of different positions.” 

Spielman said Pruitt is an athletic halfback type fullback. 

Pruitt said he does not know what the plan is for him in the Vikings’ offense. 

The Vikings offense struggled last season averaging 315.5 yards per game, 27th in the league. Minnesota averaged 20.3 points per game, 20th in the NFL. 

Pruitt said he is looking forward to doing whatever he can to help the team and is excited about working with quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.

“He is a great quarterback who is trying to make a name for himself,” he said. “I feel like we can grow together and make this thing work for a long time.” 

Pruitt finished his SIU career with the all-time school and Missouri Valley Football Conference records among tight ends for career receptions, 211, receiving yards, 2,601, and receiving touchdowns, 25. 

He is No. 2 all-time at SIU for career receiving yards and receiving touchdowns among receivers. In his 44 career games played, Pruitt caught at least one reception in 43 games. 

Pruitt finished as a three-time All-American in 2012, 2013 and 2014, was named an All-Conference pick all four years, two-time College Football Performance Award Football Championship Subdivision Tight End of the Year and was named the best tight end in MVFC history for the league’s 30-year anniversary. 

When the Draft commenced, teams quickly scrambled to find unsigned free agents to add to their rosters. This is when running back Malcolm Agnew received a call from the Green Bay Packers. 

Agnew tweeted at 6:12 p.m. Saturday to announce he was the newest member of the Packers. 

“Man! God is so Amazing! Blessed and honored to be the newest member of the Green Bay Packers! #GoPackGo,” he tweeted. 

Agnew transferred to SIU after his first two years at Oregon State University. With the Beavers, Agnew rushed for 692 yards and 6 touchdowns. In his first collegiate game, Agnew collected 223 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

With the Salukis, Agnew added 1,708 yards and 16 touchdowns in 19 games. He also caught for 329 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Agnew joins a Packers backfield with Eddie Lacy, who was No. 7 in the league last year with 1,139 rushing yards. The Packers had the sixth best offense in the league, averaging 386.1 yards per game. Green Bay was No. 11 in the league with an average of 119.8 rushing yards per game. 

The Packers were not done yet with former Salukis. Green Bay invited former SIU long snapper Thor Hadfield to their rookie mini camp. 

Hadfield was a walk-on his freshman year but made the team based on his resilience. Hadfield did not play his freshman year after redshirting, and played in two games his sophomore year. 

In his junior and senior years, Hadfield played in all 24 games. Hadfield was the starting long snapper for all punts, field goal attempts and point after attempts his junior year and the starting long snapper for all field goals, extra points and punts his senior year. 

Hadfield will leave for Green Bay on Thursday for the rooking mini camp beginning Friday and would find out more about contract information when he is there. 

Former Saluki quarterback Kory Faulkner was invited to mini camp for the Vikings as well beginning Thursday. 

This story will be updated as more information becomes available. 

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 269

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