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Childs Could Be Man Among Boys For Vikings

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Cordarrelle Patterson may need to look behind his shoulder for possible competition next year. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images.
Cordarrelle Patterson may need to look behind his shoulder for possible competition next year. Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images.

They grew up together in Warren, Ark., and both starred for the Razorbacks, putting up some great numbers. They were both drafted in the fourth round by the same team, and are still buddies. I'm talking about Minnesota Vikings teammates Greg Childs and Jarius Wright.

But now these two second-year receivers are battling for spots, and it’s entirely possible that one of them might displace the other for a scarce position and even scarcer playing time.

Greg Jennings will make it and be the No. 1 receiver. Cordarrelle Patterson, as a first-round pick, will be on the team, as well. 

After that, it’s anyone’s guess. Nothing is more uncertain except for how well quarterback Christian Ponder will do.

There’s Jerome Simpson, who needs a good year after a poor 2012 campaign. Joe Webb, after a subpar playoff performance against the Green Bay Packers at quarterback, is making the move to wide receiver. Tight end John Carlson’s healed after being injured, and he’ll be given a shot to show his stuff after being signed for big bucks. Kyle Rudolph’s the only guy we know Ponder feels comfortable with. Other receivers are little-known and their abilities unknown.

The roster of receivers looks pretty good, or at least improved, on paper. There’s a lot of potential. But after last year’s horrible passing offense, it's hard to be too optimistic.

There’s just one ball. And one quarterback, who didn’t do well getting the ball to anyone last year. 

Childs is 6-foot-3 and has a world of ability. He has great speed, can jump out of the gym and has great hands. His highlight videos on YouTube are stunning.

But he’s coming back from two torn patellar tendons, and there’s no timetable for his return. Head coach Leslie Frazier wants him back for training camp. He showed up at minicamp Tuesday and took part in individual drills.

It’s troubling that Childs had the same injury in college, and it ended his junior (and last) season for Arkansas.

Childs has been compared to Hakeem Nicks, and he has all the tools. But his health is the issue. More injury problems might place his career in jeopardy and label him “injury-prone.” This is the time for him to show something.

All reports point to his hard work at rehab. You have to like his attitude, too. He seems to realize that rehabbing is as tough a job as any he’ll have as a professional athlete. 

He looks great. It can’t hurt that he has a teammate who made a comeback from a severe injury that was one for the books. Still, there’s only one Adrian Peterson. 

Then there’s Wright. He caught 22 balls and scored two touchdowns as a rookie last year.  He’s more of a possession type receiver, appears to lack the explosiveness of Childs and is short. Still, he’s reliable and can make plays.

It’s hard not to compare the two ex-Razorbacks. Will Vikings coaches do the same? How will it all shake out at the wide receiver position?

Here’s how I see it. The Vikings need a breakaway threat, and Patterson is a year away. What that means is that Childs has a great chance. This could be a breakout year for Childs. He should be recovered from the patella injuries, which occurred 11 months ago.

He knows it’s now or possibly never. He looks motivated. 

If a previously errant quarterback can get the ball to him and if Childs is fully healed, the ex-Razorback can make a huge splash. Of course, those are two big ifs. Vikings fans know better than to bet the house on their team. Still, players such as Childs tantalize fans with what might be.