Thursday, November 26, 2015

greg childs

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You just can’t help but feel bad for former Viking wide out Greg Childs.

Once heralded as possessing first round potential as a receiver out of Arkansas, where he was teammates with current Viking Jarius Wright, a severe knee injury saw Childs drafted by the Vikings in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Wright was also selected by the Vikings in the same round.

Childs suffered a freak injury to both of his knees during his rookie training camp and spent his entire Vikings career on the mend. Eventually, in March of last year, the Vikings released the receiver despite positive reports about his progress and determination.

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Last year, when the Vikings thought they had a fourth round steal when the selected Greg Childs, the talented receiver out of Arkansas that slipped in the Draft due to injury concerns.  So far, almost two full seasons into his career, only the concerns have been realized and the talent level remains to be seen.

Childs tore both patellar tendons on August 4th of the team’s 2012 training camp and has been in rehabilitation mode ever since.  He has been a fixture in the locker room and his determination has been the subject of hundreds of Vikings-focused articles ever since he sustained the injury.  Monday marked the NFL deadline for the Vikings to either let Childs practice, put him on injured reserve again, or release him outright.  They decided to let him practice and that is a huge milestone for his comeback campaign.

He practiced for the first time in 15 months on Wednesday.

The Vikings now have three weeks to decide what to do with him next.  A 21-day deadline is now going to be imposed, per NFL rules, and the Vikings will either have to activate him or put him on injured reserve… or release him.  Considering the time invested into their young wide out, it would be surprising if they gave up on him at this point, as they would surely like to get him into training camp next year to see what he can do.

Childs was once thought of as a possible answer for the Vikings at the receiver position, but they were forced to move forward without him, and he will be joining a crowded group with decent talent.  Since his injury the Vikings have invested heavily into first rounder Cordarrelle Patterson, paid handsomely to obtain Greg Jennings, and converted Joe Webb back to receiver.  They have also allowed youngsters Rodney Smith and Adam Theilen to hang around and Jerome Simpson is the team’s leading pass catcher.

Still, Childs is determined to make it back to the field of play, and when he does I doubt he’ll be any less determined when it comes to making an impact.

Last week, prior to training camp commencing, the fine folks at asked me to participate in a little exercise along with a handful of other fine blogs.  The mission was simple:  Predict what the 53-man roster will look like after final cuts are made.

I’m posting my predictions here, but the final results that include all of the various roster projections can be found by clicking here.

A few things about my projection will jump out at you:

  • I didn’t give wide out Greg Childs or Michael Mauti the benefit of the doubt regarding their injury status.  Keep in mind, this was written prior to Mauti being cleared for practice.  Regardless, I just couldn’t pretend to be a doctor, and had to leave them off the list until they prove that they are not only healthy enough to play in the NFL, but talented enough, too.  They are both guys I root for, but they didn’t make my pre-training camp roster.
  • Of the blogs polled, I was the only one to give the third running back spot to undrafted rookie Bradley Randle.  You all have known my desire for the Vikings to have a dynamic scat back longer than the world has known who Barack Obama is, but I think his true value lies on special teams.  He can produce a big hit, which has already been on display in Mankato, and just seems to have a lot more upside compared to his competition.
  • I was also the only blogger to dedicate a roster spot to cornerback Bobby Felder.  I was relieved when the Vikings managed to sneak him onto the practice squad last year, as I felt he had tremendous upside, and I think his year of practicing with the team will pay dividends as he faces off against the likes of Jacob Lacey and Brandon Burton.

Anyways, here is my final (okay, not really final, I bet) for what the roster will look like on opening day:

[NOTE FROM ADAM:  In case you missed it, Lemke’s first bold prediction involved the safety position and you can read about it by clicking right here.  Enjoy round two!]

Many eyes will be on the suddenly talented group of Vikings wide receivers when training camp opens at the end of July.  With new faces like Greg Jennings and rookie Cordarrelle Patterson, along with familiar faces Jarius Wright, Jerome Simpson, and Pro Bowl MVP tight end Kyle Rudolph, fans have a reason to be excited about the passing game. After the probable four “locks” to make the roster (Jennings, Patterson, Wright, and Simpson), the competition becomes intense for the rest of the receivers as to who will still be wearing purple in September.

Joe Webb, Chris Summers, undrafted free agent Rodney Smith, and the hopeful success story Greg Childs will all have to compete for roster spots over the course of the season. Summers was picked up by the Vikings and placed on the practice squad in 2012 after being cut by the Chicago Bears. He is a long shot to make the team, but he has been making some noise this offseason, reportedly looking good in practices. Another long shot is undrafted rookie Rodney Smith out of FSU, however his height (6’5) and speed are both very impressive. I think the main competition will be between Greg Childs and Joe Webb, but even though the Vikings rarely keep more than five receivers, I think both will make the team.

To see Greg Childs come back after suffering an extremely rare dual knee cap blowout would be amazing, and it sounds like he will possibly be ready for training camp. Provided he’s ready and is able to play during the preseason, I think he’ll be another great weapon to add to the mix, and I don’t see how he couldn’t make the roster. I think Joe Webb’s role won’t be so much at wide receiver, but more of a special teams ace. Special teams coordinator Mike Priefer has already talked up the idea of using Webb on special teams as a punt returner, field goal blocking schemes, and even as a gunner on the punting team. I think his versatility as a receiver and special teams member will win him a roster spot, but honestly I’m just glad his days as a quarterback are over (for us anyways).

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