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A chance in camp: Former UND football players get spot in Minnesota Vikings training camp

Photo by John Stennes/Forum Communications Co. UND's Shea Walker, left, blocks a fieldgoal attempt by Brandon Wieking from the University of Sioux Falls during the first half on Nov. 5. Also in on the play is UND's Dominique Hawkins, middle.

GRAND FORKS -- The Minnesota Vikings have extended rookie minicamp invitations to three former University of North Dakota football players, although two of those athletes haven't been with the Sioux since 2010.

Defensive back Dominique Hawkins, linebacker Ross Cochran and running back Josh Murray will be among the approximately 60 players attending the Vikings' rookie minicamp Thursday through Sunday at Winter Park in Eden Prairie, Minn.

Hawkins, a Plymouth, Minn., native, was the only one of the three on the 2011 UND team, which finished 8-3 and were co-Great West Conference champions. Hawkins was a four-year starter for the Sioux and a standout kick returner, as well.

Hawkins played in the FCS Senior Scout Bowl in February. He also worked out for a number of NFL scouts during a pro day at the University of Minnesota and one at the Fargodome held earlier this spring.

"I'm going to do the camp and do the best I can," Hawkins said. "I really have nothing to lose. I'll go out and perform as well as I can. Hopefully they like what they see. I'll take it one day at a time."

Hawkins started three years at cornerback with the Sioux before moving to safety as a senior. He returned three of his seven career interceptions for touchdowns.

If options with the NFL don't work out, Hawkins said he would consider playing in the Canadian Football League.

If those two plans fall through, however, Hawkins said he's ready to move forward with other career opportunities. Hawkins has a major in Graphic Design and Technology.

Cochran, Murray also land with Vikes

Hawkins said the Vikings have also invited Cochran, of Kenosha, Wis. Cochran played four years with the Sioux, finishing his career in 2010 when he had 50 tackles and 3.5 sacks.

Cochran had workouts with the Chicago Bears last spring, but had been playing with the Wyoming Calvary of the National Indoor Football League this year.

Murray was last with the Sioux in 2010, as well, before being dismissed from the program before his senior season.

In 2010, Murray rushed for 701 yards and four touchdowns and also caught 32 passes for 237 yards.

Murray, a Pepin, Wis., native, played his senior season at the University of Mary in Bismarck. With the Marauders, Murray rushed for 1,095 yards and 14 touchdowns. He averaged 99.5 yards rushing per game.

Miller is a sports reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.