Minnesota Vikings: Greg Childs

MINNEAPOLIS -- We're continuing our review of the Minnesota Vikings' recent draft history today, with a look at how the team did in 2012:

First-round pick: Nos. 4 (Matt Kalil, OT, USC) and 29 (Harrison Smith, S, Notre Dame)

Number of picks: 10

Total Draft AV: 57 (5th; Seattle was the best with an 83 AV)

Highest player AV: Kalil, 18 (T-11th; Seattle's Russell Wilson was the best with a 31 AV)

How they did: It seemed obvious before the draft the Vikings were enamored with Kalil, who had the potential to be a fixture at left tackle for the next decade. But general manager Rick Spielman's sleight-of-hand allowed the Vikings to trade back from No. 3 to No. 4 in the draft and still get Kalil. And after he got three extra picks from the Cleveland Browns, Spielman traded back into the first round to pick Smith. Kalil has already been to a Pro Bowl, Smith has the potential to be a star, and the strength of the first round alone made this a strong draft -- to say nothing of the Pro Bowl kicker Spielman found in the sixth round.

Pivotal pick: The Baltimore Ravens had talked with several teams before the draft about trading out of the 29th overall pick, and after Spielman had made his trade with the Browns, the Vikings were in possession of 13 picks. That gave them the flexibility to send a second- and fourth-rounder to the Ravens and select Smith after the Green Bay Packers -- who were in need of safety help then, as they are now -- passed on him to select USC linebacker Nick Perry. Smith intercepted three passes as a rookie, returning two of them for touchdowns, and had two interceptions in 2013 before turf toe sidelined him for much of the year. He's a physical, instinctive safety who appears to have a lofty ceiling if he can stay healthy.

Best pick: Either of the first-rounders would be in contention for the title, but simply for value, we'll give the nod to kicker Blair Walsh, whom the Vikings drafted in the sixth round to replace Ryan Longwell after special teams coordinator Mike Priefer gave Walsh high marks for an on-campus workout at Georgia. Walsh went 10-for-10 from more than 50 yards as a rookie, became one of the league's best kickoff men and made the Pro Bowl. According to Pro Football Reference, only three players drafted after Walsh (who went with the 175th overall pick) have an Approximate Value as high or higher than the kicker's AV of 9.

Worst pick: A nasty injury -- two torn patellar tendons at the end of the Vikings' 2012 training camp scrimmage -- meant things didn't pan out for fourth-round receiver Greg Childs in Minnesota. Third-round cornerback Josh Robinson struggled mightily last season, though much of that was due to the Vikings miscasting him as a slot cornerback. He'll get a chance to turn things around in his third year with the team.
MINNEAPOLIS -- We're continuing on with our position-by-position outlook at the Vikings' roster. Today: the wide receivers.


2014 free agents: Jerome Simpson, Joe Webb.

The good: In his first year in the NFL, Cordarrelle Patterson looked like a star in the making. Granted, much of his best work came as a kick returner, but Patterson had moments when he showed he could be a dangerous threat as a receiver, too -- most notably his 79-yard screen pass against the Ravens on Dec. 8. Patterson could be the Vikings' next iteration of Percy Harvin, and will likely be the team's starting split end for years to come. Greg Jennings had an underwhelming first year in Minnesota, but that was due largely to the uncertainty the Vikings had at quarterback; once Matt Cassel took over as the starter at the end of the season, Jennings took off, catching a career-high 11 passes in the Vikings' Dec. 15 win over the Eagles. And Simpson emerged as a third receiver, nearly establishing career highs for catches and yards.

The bad: The Vikings will have to get more out of Jennings if he's going to live up to the $18 million in guaranteed money the Vikings gave him. He'll be 31 in September, and while a more stable quarterback situation should help, the Vikings still need to see him produce more. They will also have to decide whether or not to bring Simpson back, knowing he could be facing another NFL suspension after pleading guilty to DWI and careless driving charges stemming from a Nov. 9 arrest. And they'll want to see Patterson mature in his second year; the rookie said last month his goal for the offseason was to "stay out of trouble."

The money (2014 salary-cap numbers): Jennings ($7 million), Patterson ($1.64 million), Jarius Wright ($675,027), Greg Childs ($645,146), Rodney Smith ($495,000). The Vikings would likely add another $2 million or so to their cap figure for the position if they re-signed Simpson; otherwise, they're not terribly over-committed at the position, given how young their receiver group is behind Jennings. Wright disappeared for the first half of his second season, but played well at the end of the year with Cassel. Childs is still trying to make it back from two torn patellar tendons that have kept him out since Aug. 2012.

Draft priority: Low. It's possible the Vikings could take a flier on a young receiver in case they didn't re-sign Simpson and didn't feel like Wright could be a capable third receiver, but there's talent here, and much of it is young.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- While Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson had reason to believe he'd avoided a serious foot injury on Monday, coach Leslie Frazier was dealing with plenty of other injury news, not all of it good.

The team placed tight end Kyle Rudolph on injured reserve with a fractured foot, ending his season five weeks after he got hurt against the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 3. John Carlson, who has 32 catches this season and had done a solid job as Rudolph's replacement, sustained a concussion on Sunday in Baltimore.

Tight end wasn't the only position where the Vikings found themselves without much depth. Running back Toby Gerhart strained his hamstring on his 41-yard touchdown run on Sunday, and could be out or limited against the Philadelphia Eagles. If Peterson and Gerhart can't go, the Vikings would be left with third-string halfback Matt Asiata, fullback Jerome Felton or practice squad running back Joe Banyard.

The Vikings also lost cornerback Xavier Rhodes to a sprained right ankle; Rhodes was on crutches for the second straight day on Monday. The team is still trying to decide whether to activate safety Harrison Smith from injured reserve, though Smith seemed optimistic last week he could return from turf toe, and cornerback Josh Robinson is still out because of a fractured sternum. Depending on how many players the Vikings have missing from their secondary, they could add a defensive back from their practice squad or sign one this week.

Right guard Brandon Fusco also strained his knee on Sunday, and the Vikings decided to keep wide receiver Greg Childs on the physically unable to perform list for the rest of the season. Childs had torn the patellar tendons in both knees during training camp in 2012, and while he "did a good job in his returns, did some things we were glad to see," Frazier said, the Vikings decided not to risk bringing him back for the final three games of the season.

In one piece of good injury news for the Vikings, quarterback Christian Ponder has passed the NFL's concussion protocol and is ready to return this week. Frazier said the Vikings' coaching staff would make a decision on a starting quarterback for Sunday's game later this week. Matt Cassel started in relief of Ponder on Sunday, throwing for 265 yards in the loss to the Ravens.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- What seemed like a virtual certainty all week is now official: Matt Cassel will start at quarterback for the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday in Baltimore, with Christian Ponder out for the game because of the concussion he sustained last Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

Ponder still has not passed the NFL's concussion protocol, and hasn't been able to practice all week. He worked out on Friday without a helmet, but will still need to clear the concussion test to put himself in the mix to play on Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.

For Sunday, Cassel will start, with Josh Freeman backing him up. Ponder is one of three players the Vikings ruled out for the game, along with cornerback Josh Robinson (fractured sternum) and tight end Kyle Rudolph (fractured foot).

Running back Adrian Peterson got some light work on Friday, and will play Sunday with his strained groin. Coach Leslie Frazier said the Vikings will likely have to limit Peterson's practice time the rest of the year because of the injury; they have held him out of Wednesday and Thursday practices for the past three weeks before practicing him on Friday.

"It's similar to what we had to do a year ago, when he had a similar injury [a sports hernia] in the month of December," Frazier said. "We'll have to manage it through the rest of the regular season."

Frazier also said wide receiver Greg Childs practiced for a third straight day on Friday, as he tries to recover from two torn patellar tendons in time to be activated off the physically unable to perform list by next week's deadline and possibly see game action for the first time since he was injured in August 2012. And safety Harrison Smith is still on track to return from injured reserve next week and play against the Eagles after missing two months with turf toe.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson missed his second consecutive day of practice, in what is becoming a weekly routine to limit wear and tear on last year's NFL MVP. But coach Leslie Frazier doesn't expect Peterson, who has carried 67 times in the last two games despite a strained groin, to be limited on Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

"It just tells you how amazing he is," Frazier said. "Not only does he play, he plays extremely well. It's just incredible, when you think of what those injuries can do for any position, let alone a running back. He's a special guy. His body is definitely unique. He's different in a lot of ways."

Peterson still leads the league with 1,208 rushing yards, and he might have more if he were able to run at full speed. "I know this: Some of those 20-yard runs could be 40- or 60-yard runs. We've seen that," Frazier said. "He's working as hard as he can, but it's tough to get [to] 100 percent in two or three days [of practice]."

In other Vikings injury news:
  • Quarterback Christian Ponder still hasn't cleared the NFL's concussion protocol, and he did not practice on Thursday. While Ponder could practice Friday if he is cleared, Frazier said it's "probably not" realistic to expect Ponder to be active on Sunday. Frazier said Wednesday the Vikings planned to start Matt Cassel.
  • Safety Jamarca Sanford, who missed practice on Wednesday with an ankle injury, returned to practice in a limited role on Thursday, and it appears likely he will play on Sunday.
  • Linebacker Larry Dean (knee) was out of practice again, as was cornerback Josh Robinson (chest). Defensive end Jared Allen (finger), linebacker Chad Greenway (wrist) and defensive tackle Sharrif Floyd (illness) were limited.
  • Safety Harrison Smith has looked good in practice, Frazier said, and the Vikings still expect Smith to return from turf toe and come off injured reserve on Dec. 15 against the Philadelphia Eagles.
  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph (foot) has been unable to practice this week. The Vikings had hoped to get him back on the practice field, Frazier said, but will now likely have to wait until next week.
  • Wide receiver Greg Childs, who has been out all season after tearing the patellar tendons in both knees during training camp last year, has practiced the last two days, but Frazier wasn't sure if the Vikings will activate him from the physically unable to perform list or put him on injured reserve. The Vikings must make a decision on Childs next week.

Vikings: Jennings, Peterson sit out

November, 20, 2013
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Both wide receiver Greg Jennings and running back Adrian Peterson sat out of the Minnesota Vikings' practice on Wednesday, but coach Leslie Frazier was hopeful that both would be ready for Sunday's game against the Green Bay Packers.

The Vikings will try to get Jennings, who was a surprise scratch on Sunday against the Seattle Seahawks with a strained right Achilles tendon, a full day of practice on Thursday, Frazier said. Though he added Jennings "had some soreness" on Wednesday morning. The coach, meanwhile, is "cautiously optimistic" Peterson will be able to play after being limited by a strained groin against the Seahawks.

"We'll see what we need to do this week. Is he able to practice today or tomorrow, or do we hold him back until Friday?," Frazier said. "We'll make that determination this afternoon when we sit down and talk with our trainers."

In other Vikings injury news:
  • The Vikings were also without center John Sullivan, who had not cleared the NFL's concussion protocol in time to practice on Wednesday. Joe Berger is preparing to start if Sullivan is not cleared before Sunday.
  • Linebacker Erin Henderson missed practice, but the team said the reason for the middle linebacker's absence was not injury-related.
  • Tight end Kyle Rudolph (fractured foot) and cornerback Josh Robinson (fractured sternum) were out of practice.
  • Tight end Rhett Ellison (ankle), defensive tackle Fred Evans (knee), defensive tackle Letroy Guion (chest) and linebacker Michael Mauti (knee) were limited.
  • Lastly, wide receiver Greg Childs returned to practice for the first time since tearing the patellar tendons in both knees last August. The Vikings have three weeks to activate the second-year player from the physically-unable-to-perform list or put him on injured reserve, but Childs was still hopeful he could see game action this season. "I’m going to work hard and I”m going to get on the field," he said. "There was never a doubt that I was ever going to play again."