When Minnesota Vikings’ wide receiver Greg Childs suffered torn patella tendons in both knees during a training camp practice in August of 2012, his NFL career looked to be over before it had a chance to start. He has spent the 2013 season up to this point on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, but he returned to practice with the Vikings two weeks ago and was reportedly able to string together back-to-back practices this week for the first time since being injured nearly 16 months ago.
The Vikings have through Monday to activate or waive Childs, or they could also place him on season-ending injured reserve. But head coach Leslie Frazier sounded optimistic on Friday, suggesting Childs should be ready to go next week as long as his progress continues. There are obviously no guarantees at this point, but if Childs suits up he could be in a position to make a case for a prominent role in 2014.
With a 3-8-1 record and facing some significant changes after the season, the Vikings have nothing to lose by giving young players a chance to put some good things on film over the final four games of the season. Childs fits that bill if he is healthy enough to play, and his size (6’3″, 219 lbs.) and physical tools had him on the team’s radar as a potential starter right out of the gate as a rookie prior to his knee injuries. Things have changed a bit at wide receiver for the Vikings since Childs was originally sidelined, most notably with the signing of Greg Jennings last offseason, but they still have few proven options at the position as the season winds down and looking toward next year.
Childs would defy the odds surrounding the unique nature of his knee issues by simply being in uniform again, and exactly how much he’ll see the field over the rest of the month if he is active on game days is a question. But I’ll bet I’m not alone in rooting for him to not only play late this season, but perform well and put himself in a good position for a prominent role with the Vikings next season.