At first glance last Friday at FIU Pro Day, the defensive back working out for scouts from all 32 NFL teams appeared to be former FIU basketball point guard Nick Taylor. However, one could not be sure since Taylor played one season of high school football at Norland and never played any college football.
Yet once scouts yelled "Nick Taylor" before the defensive back ran the 40-yard dash, it was confirmed that indeed it was the former FIU basketball point guard. And what a 40-yard dash Taylor ran. Taylor clocked in at 4.27 and 4.33 in his two 40 runs at Pro Day.
Later in the day, Taylor impressed in agility drills and with his pass catching skills. The next morning the Minnesota Vikings called and scheduled a private workout with Taylor in Minneapolis. That workout took place Friday morning, March 16. A few hours later Taylor signed a three-year free agent contract with the Vikings.
"It's a dream come true," Taylor said by phone from the Vikings headquarters. "I can't wait to get on the field wearing the Vikings purple. I've been trying to get back into football since I graduated from FIU."
This will be the second time that Taylor will be a "Viking". Taylor played football and basketball for the Norland Vikings during his prep career. Taylor walked on to the FIU basketball team in 2007 and played point guard for the Panthers for three years. Deciding to concentrate on basketball and get his degree in recreation and sport management from FIU, Taylor never went out for the Panthers football team.
After Taylor graduated from FIU, he did try to get back into football by attending several Canadian Football League workouts. Last year he caught on with the Fort Lauderdale Barracudas of the Stars Football League. With the Barracudas, Taylor had three interceptions in four games and was named an SFL All-Star.
In addition to finding success on the gridiron last year, Taylor also excelled at video games, winning $25,000 at an NBA2K tournament in Las Vegas last April.
Now a Minnesota Viking, Taylor returns to Minneapolis April 23 for the start of organized team activities (OTAs) and off-season workouts. The Vikings told Taylor they would like to see him at defensive back, punt returner and possibly receiver.
Should Taylor make the Vikings team out of training camp, he would join fellow FIU alums Antwan Barnes (defensive lineman San Diego Chargers) and Anthony Gaitor (defensive back Tampa Bay Buccaneers) in the NFL this fall. While Barnes and Gaitor played for the FIU football team, Taylor would be the first FIU basketball alum to play in the NFL.
-- Pete Pelegrin