How good will Vikings rookie WR Greg Childs be?
That is a question that many Vikings fans will be watching closely over the next few weeks of training camp and preseason games.
That same question could determine if veteran WR Michael Jenkins is still on the Vikings roster after August 31 when the team must trim the roster to 53 active players.
What we know for sure, is that on paper the 2012 Minnesota Vikings have added more potential weapons.
With the promotion of Rick Spielman to General Manager there has been a clear direction for the franchise and that is to build through youth on the offense, defense and special teams.
Spielman will be heavily graded on his 2012 NFL Draft class and one of the picks that could make him look like a genius is the former Arkansas Razorback standout receiver Greg Childs.
My opinion since we drafted Childs in the fourth round that he has the intangibles to be difference maker in the passing game right away if he can prove he is finally healthy.
Those intangibles include his great size, 6’3 220, and he is known for his body control and soft hands. If Childs can regain his explosion after being hampered by a torn patella tendon the past two years he could be a steal for the Vikings. Childs did post a quick 4.55 forty time at the NFL scouting combine showing team glimpses of a the player that was once projected to be a first round pick.
Childs does have a lot of catching up to do after he missed almost all of OTA’s and minicamp due to a calf strain. After only registering 21 catches for 240 yards as a senior after collecting at least 46 catches and 659 yards in his Sophomore and Junior seasons.
Here is a recent quote from Vikings Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave on Childs by the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Dan Wiederer.
“He’s got the speed to get down the field. But he also has the size to muscle little DBs at the same time … We’re counting on the human body healing up. With the significant injury he had, it’s usually a 15- to 18-month recovery process. And he’s just getting to that threshold. So we’re betting on the come with him,” says Musgrave.
I see Percy Harvin, Jerome Simpson and rookies Greg Childs and Jarius Wright as the only locks at receiver but the options are plenty. With young players like Stephen Burton, Emmanuel Arceneaux budding, veterans like Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu could be released. The Minnesota Vikings currently have 12 receivers on the 90-man roster competing for 5 or 6 spots.
So why would the Vikings cut a veteran receiver like Jenkins who was the second best option at receiver in 2011 before being injured?
Well I seem to share this opinion with Vikings beat writer, Tom Pelissero that Jenkins, 6’4, 214, is a 30 year old possession receiver that will earn the highest receiver salary on the team ($2.5 million), can’t play special teams and is returning from a torn meniscus.
After being almost immediately signed after being released by the Atlanta Falcons, Jenkins was of course familiar with the Vikings offense where the new Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave resided the past few seasons as the Quarterbacks Coach.
Jenkins likely benefited greatly in 2011 from the fact that he already knew the scheme/terminology in a lockout-shortened season where most competing players didn’t have the opportunity to dive into the playbook or get the extra reps they would normally get to learn a new offense.
With Simpson being the favorite to play the “X” receiver upon his return from a 3-game suspension both Childs and Burton offer more game-breaking abilities to be the temporary starter than Jenkins with solid training camps. They both are also likely to contribute on special teams as well.
With a full offseason to prepare, the Vikings have younger and more talented options at receiver for a team that is rebuilding to get back to being a perennial NFC North contender.
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