Michael Jenkins’ days in Minnesota might be numbered.
This offseason, the Minnesota Vikings made it a priority to upgrade the wide receiver position. First, they signed free agent Jerome Simpson to a one-year “prove it” deal with the hopes that he could be a field-stretcher and touchdown machine for their passing attack.
Then, the Vikings added former Arkansas wide receivers Jarius Wright and Greg Childs via the 2012 NFL Draft. Wright is expected to provide depth behind slot receiver Percy Harvin while Childs was a gamble with the potential to turn into a legitimate starting flanker.
Even second-year man Stephen Burton has turned heads this offseason and is looking for a breakout 2012 campaign with the Vikings.
So when the Vikings’ offseason workouts began, Jenkins needed to prove his value after ending the 2011 season on the IR list because of a torn meniscus in his knee. In March, he even went as far as to say that his knee was at 100 percent. That doesn’t appear to be the case, though.
Considering the flimsy grasp that Jenkins currently has on the No. 2 spot, the veteran wide receiver will need all of the help he can get once training camp starts. But if he can’t unhitch the trailer and run at full speed, the Vikings might have to look elsewhere for playmakers.
In 2011, Jenkins lacked the ability to separate from defenders and often looked lethargic when running routes. If his knee still isn’t healthy in 2012, those issues will only be magnified. If that’s the case, Jenkins’ roster spot could be in jeopardy.
We won’t know for sure where Jenkins is health-wise until training camp kicks off on Thursday. But if he’s still being slowed by his injured knee, we could see the ax fall on the aging wide receiver sooner rather than later.