Minnesota Vikings Camp: Young Receivers Given Opportunity to Step Up
Less than two weeks into training camp, the Minnesota Vikings already find themselves looking for help at receiver. Of course the biggest blow was dealt when top rookie Greg Childs tore his patellar tendon in both knees over the weekend. The team is also currently down a tight end with John Carlson nursing an MCL sprain.
Of course there are options outside of the current roster to add a receiver via a trade or free agency, but head coach Leslie Frazier isn’t quite ready to look there yet.
“We still think we have some options on our current roster without bringing a guy in for the sake of bringing a guy in. Some of it depends how well and how improved Devin (Aromashodu) is, along with some of those other guys we have. We still have Percy (Harvin). It’s just a matter of solidifying that other guy outside.”
It’s a safe assumption that Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins will get more time at wide out with Childs no longer in the mix. However, I’m more interested to see what young receivers step up.
Second year player Steve Burton and rookie Jarius Wright are the two most talented young players, but they don’t figure to start the season too high on the depth chart. Burton was said to have difficulty adapting to the pro game, as was the case early on the Wright. Given the lack of depth though, I expect both guys to get their chance to play a bigger role.
As far as the tight end situation, it’s not nearly as bad. Carlson is expected to be ready for the team’s final two preseason games, and 100% by week one. His injury does open the door for a few guys to compete for more playing time, specifically rookie TE/FB Rhett Ellison, and young TEs Allen Reisner and Mickey Shuler.
Ellison and Reisner are the favorites to fill out the depth chart, and will provide Christian Ponder two more sure handed targets. Ellison should spend a fair amount of time in the backfield, likely playing the role of the now retired Jim Kleinsasser.
Injuries can be a blessing in disguise, I’m not sure that’s the case for the Vikings here, but they will provide young players a chance to make a name for themselves.
Even though the receiver situation seems a bit dire at this time, don’t forget about Jerome Simpson. Minnesota brought him in to be their No. 2 guy on the outside, and to make plays down the field. He will do just that after returning from his 3 game suspension. At this point, he’s their Ace in the Hole.