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The Vikings didn’t exactly make a conscious effort to create such a high concentration of former Fighting Irish.

“I think it was more coincidence because we’re always going to stack our draft board according to a player’s ability, and our rating system is building on upside and potential,” general manager Rick Spielman said. “I don’t know that we’ve honed in, just because they go to a Notre Dame or a USC or an Ohio State or something like that.”

The Vikings, though, have shaped their roster philosophy around a stated desire for tough, smart, passionate players, attributes that Notre Dame products often possess, even during some of the down years they’ve had in the last decade.

“Clearly there’s something about that school that our front office and the people making our personnel decisions like, but at the same time it really comes down to a case by case basis,” Sullivan said. “You can find great people from a whole lot of schools. I think we’ve got a lot of great people here. That can come from the whole spectrum of college football.”

Only the Notre Dame guys will be able to cheer for their team in the national championship game next month, however. The Vikings don’t have any Alabama players on the roster now.

“We have to make sure that while we’re on top,” Rudolph said, “we let everyone else know.”

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AP Sports Writer Jon Krawczynski contributed to this report.

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Follow Dave Campbell on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DaveCampbellAP

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Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL