Welcome to part six of our ten part series entitled “Welcome to the Big Show” where we attempt to bring you a comprehensive, in-depth look at each of the Vikings ten Draft selections of 2012. In case you missed them, here are links to the first five: Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Josh Robinson, Rhett Ellison, and Jarius Wright.
Make sure to go back and check out Brett’s fine article on Wright. As we all know by now, Wright and Greg Childs have been friends and teammates since a very young age. Childs is the subject of today’s “Welcome to the Big Show” segment.
During his junior year at Warren High School in Arkansas he put up 65 receptions and made 15 of them count for touchdowns, and earned a spot on the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette’s all-Junior team. In 2007, he was an all-State selection as a senior.
Childs left high school as one of the most heavily recruited players in the nation. He received scholarship offers from Tennessee, Ole Miss, Colorado, Mississippi State, and Texas Tech before deciding to stay close to home and become a Razorback.
Childs turned 22 on March 10th of this year which makes him the youngest receiver on the Vikings roster.
He met fellow Viking rookie Jarius Wright in the third grade when he moved to Warren. Wright was a popular kid at the elementary school and they decided to target Childs for some old fashioned bullying. It took about two years for them to finally become friends, and they have been teammates ever since the seventh grade.
HEIGHT: 6’ 3”
WEIGHT: 219 pounds
HANDS: 10 1/8”
ARM LENGTH: 34 1/8”
40 YARD DASH: 4.55 seconds
BENCH PRESS: 19 repetitions
VERTICLE JUMP: 36.5”
BROAD JUMP: 125”
- Controls body well
- Ideal size and elite arm length
- Has experience at every receiver spot
- Consistently uses size to create space after the catch
- A very good route runner (when healthy)
- Isn’t afraid to go across the middle of the field
- Uses big frame to box out defenders
- Shows awareness of his position on the field
- Does a nice job breaking and cutting during his route
- Plays well against the jam
- Catches with his hands and not his body
- Rarely drops a football
- Can break the occasional tackle
- Can contribute as a dependable blocker
- Great red zone target with large catch radius
- Plays slower than 40-time indicates
- Struggles to gain separation
- Down field ability is often questioned
- Below average athleticism
- Lacks explosiveness off the line
- Injury History (Patella tendon and ankle)
Childs started contributing right away during his freshman year. He played in 12 games, starting one, and managed a total 18 catches, 273 yards, and two touchdowns. He shattered those numbers as a sophomore when he played 13 games, starting 8, and grabbed 48 passes for 894 yards and seven touchdowns.
In his freshman year he averaged 1.5 catches per game and 22.75 yards per game. Those numbers went up to 3.69 and 68.77 respectively as a sophomore. His upwards trend continued as a junior when he had an average of 5.75 catches and 82.38 yards per game.
That is why it was so disappointing when his college career abruptly hit a wall during his senior year, often credited to a torn patella suffered during his junior season. Childs played in eleven games, starting only three, where he grabbed a total of 21 catches for 240 yards and no touchdowns. His senior season was arguably his least productive ever.
There was some talk that Childs could end up going undrafted. He put an end to that by putting on a decent display at the NFL Scouting Combine and then generated genuine buzz by improving drastically on his Combine numbers at his pro day. After a year and a half of dealing with injuries, Childs succeeded in showing teams that he was once again healthy and ready to play some football.
Childs had to wait until the end of the fourth round, where the Vikings had a pair of compensatory picks, to hear his name announced on the television at his Warren home.
Having just been drafted by the Vikings earlier in the same round, Jarius Wright walked back into his house after talking outside on the phone to the Vikings. He saw his friend’s name flash onto the screen, and then he saw that it was the Vikings that had also taken Childs, and then he just said “Oh, man…”
The Vikings selected Childs 134th overall.
Childs on being drafted later than he had hoped because of his injuries: “There’s a very big chip on my shoulder. I’m not going to sit here and say it’s not. Because before I got hurt I was considered one of the top receivers. Since I got hurt I might not have gone in the round I wanted to go in, but I’m going to come out here and give it my all.”
Leslie Frazier on Childs’ production drop-off his senior season: “His junior season was his best year. His senior season, coming off an injury, wasn’t quite up to the form that he had the year before so we’re hoping, like a lot of guys who have knee injuries, that the second year is the breakout year. If that’s the case, we’ll be the beneficiaries and he could be the steal of the draft.”
Childs on where he fits in the Vikings offense: “Oh, I can do it all. Deep. Short. It really doesn’t matter.”
Jarius Wright on picking on Childs in elementary school: “Greg was the new kid on the block, and I was already a pretty popular kid and had a lot of friends, so me and all my friends used to chase Greg every recess. I don’t know what it was about him, we just didn’t like him too much.”
“In elementary school we would play football a lot at recess, so we never picked Greg because, like I said, we never liked him, so we always wanted to be the ones to tackle him. He used to go sit in the end zone where we couldn’t hit him, and they used to just throw the ball as far as they could and he would just jump over everybody and catch it. (As) we got older, we finally realized, ‘He can play some sports so we can be friends with this guy now.’”
Childs on being a “package deal” with Wright: “I guess you could say that. I’ve known Jarius Wright since the third grade, so we’ve been cool since then. We talked about this one day, what if we end up going to the same NFL team. It would be crazy, we’ve been together through elementary school, middle school, junior high, high school, same college team, and now we are moving on in life and we still are going to the same team together.”
Rick Spielman on the selection: “He looks fully, 100-percent healthy, and we are looking to get the player we saw in 2010 and 2009 — that big outside receiver with big play ability.”
Former Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallett on Minnesota’s acquisition of the Razorback pair: “They have plenty of talent. All they have to do is work hard and keep their heads on right and they’ll be fine. I don’t doubt they will. They have a chance to play in the league.”
Warren High School head coach Bo Hembree in coaching in such a small town with no distractions: “Come up here Monday afternoon at 4 p.m and you’ll see a bunch of kids catching a football off a JUGS machine. That’s in the ‘off-season.’ It’s year-round. They don’t have a lot more else to do. It’s a good thing for a high school football coach. You want to know where your kids are. And they’re pretty much staying there, working on their game until we close up.”
WHERE HE FITS
I think it could be a while before Childs carves himself out a prominent role in the Vikings offense. His injuries and his youth could possibly end up getting him the “project” label for a year or two, but eventually he could settle in to become much more.
The hope is that he can the stretch-the-field playmaker that the Vikings haven’t had since Sidney Rice, but the more realistic expectation would be that he simply prove to be a superior possession receiver to Michael Jenkins over time.
The injuries give him bust potential. The talent gives him boom potential, however. He is one of the biggest question marks in this Draft class, which isn’t a bad thing for a fourth round, compensatory pick flier.
ADAM’S GRADE: B-
BRETT’S GRADE: B+