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Vikings' Mike Zimmer among huge crowd at Florida's pro day

It's a strange time to be in Gainesville when the area is nearly 100 percent focused on college basketball. Even when the school was cutting down nets in the mid-2000's there was still considerable interest in what was happening with the football team.

Oh, how times have changed.

Up the road, Florida State just hoisted another national championship, and even Central Florida, thanks to Blake Bortles and a BCS win, is drawing more media coverage and interest than the Gators football team. 

At least on Monday there was a reminder that, despite the Gators' disappointing 4-8 campaign in 2013, coach Will Muschamp did have some talent on the roster. Fifty-nine scouts and other NFL personnel from all 32 NFL teams stopped by the Florida facilities to get a closer look at several potential draftees at the team's annual pro day.

Weather was a bit of an issue for the Gators as a storm moved into the area and forced the majority of testing to take place at the nearby O'Connell Center (where the hoops team plays! Did we mention Florida is really good at basketball yet?) A few position drills were run outside in the rain afterward.

Linebacker/defensive end Ronald Powell, tight end Trey Burton and cornerbacks Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson were among the players who participated. Among the notable names looking on were Vikings head coach Mike Zimmer and Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

Defensive tackle Dominique Easley, who cracked NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's top 50 draft prospects list, attended pro day but did not work out while he continues to rehab his knee ahead of the draft. Easley plans to have a personal pro day for scouts that is tentatively set for April 18, according to 247Sports.com.

Robinson and Purifoy posted unofficial 40 times in the 4.5-4.6 range after similar results in Indianapolis at the NFL Scouting Combine.

"Those guys play a lot faster than they're going to run the 40," Muschamp said. "That's what a lot of the coaches and the comments I get from a lot of the scouts is. At the end of the day, they're going to watch the tape."

Receiver Solomon Patton was clocked unofficially in the 4.3 range, according to reports, and might have been the big winner with so many scouts looking on at the event. Patton (5-foot-9, 171 pounds) was the Gators' leading receiver last season and could be a late-round pick or a priority free agent for some teams looking at a good special teams player who can double as a deep threat on offense.

Florida opens spring practice Wednesday.

Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.

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