Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Vikings continue emergency WR measures
By Kevin Seifert
I'm not sure how you reacted to the Minnesota Vikings' acquisition of receiver Greg Camarillo. But here's where I landed: He's better than what they had before. And when you're uncertain when -- or if -- two of your top receivers will resume playing, that's all you can hope for.
Camarillo joins free agent Javon Walker as the Vikings' emergency plan for the absence of Sidney Rice (hip) and Percy Harvin (migraines). Rice is expected to miss half of the season after undergoing surgery Monday, and while Harvin was on the practice field Wednesday, he was mostly standing to the side. His status remains uncertain at best.
Camarillo is a classic possession receiver who caught 105 passes during the past two seasons with the Dolphins. Vikings fans should consider him similar to the since-departed Bobby Wade, with better hands but slower feet. In fact, according to Football Outsiders, Camarillo didn't drop a pass in 73 opportunities last season.
Here's how Scouts Inc. evaluated him before the season:
Camarillo is a good but not great athlete for the position. He plays with good balance and agility and plays the game under control. He does not have top-end speed and is more quick than he is fast. A possession receiver, Camarillo is an excellent route runner who can separate because he can plant and cut well at the top of his patterns. He is not a real threat after the catch. He is a good down field blocker. He is a tough and competitive receiver who wins by being precise in everything he does.
For now, I'm guessing Camarillo fits as a No. 3 receiver behind Bernard Berrian and, eventually, Harvin. He has a fascinating story as a player who has exceeded every limitation of his physical skills. My AFC East colleague Tim Graham wrote a wonderful piece on him two years ago. An excerpt:
Chances are, at least one person in your family is every bit the athlete Greg Camarillo is.
He is listed at 6-foot-1 and 190 pounds. He ran a 4.6-second 40-yard dash at his pro workout day before the draft. He wears size medium gloves.
Drive toward the illuminated light stanchions in your town on a Friday night and look through the chain-link fence. You'll see high school players who fit Camarillo's general description.
Those kids could play in the NFL, too. They almost certainly won't. If it was that easy, then Camarillo's story wouldn't be considered exceptional.
"I'm still amazed by it sometimes," Camarillo said while hunkered over a plastic plate of barbeque chicken, rice and beans at his stall in the Miami Dolphins locker room. "I wasn't supposed to be here.
"Pretty much every step of my journey I wasn't supposed to take the next step. Odds were against me. That's how my athletic career has been. I've always been the underdog, and I kind of like that."
Camarillo came at a modest cost; the Viking shipped out reserve cornerback Benny Sapp to get him. Sapp was the team's nickel back last year and started seven games, but he seemed buried on the depth chart this summer. No official announcement has been made, but Sapp wasn't on the Vikings' practice field this morning. I suppose it's always possible he was working out inside.