WR Childs motivated by draft drop

Almost two years ago, Greg Childs was being mentioned as one of the top receivers in the Class of 2012. A knee injury killed his draft stock but also motivated him to show what he can do now that he's finally healthy. He talked about the road to recovery, the motivation and the offense that he believes translates to the NFL.

What provides motivation for a player varies by the individual. Some players respond to praise. Others respond to a coach getting in their face and pushing them. Others are motivated by being disrespected.

Wide receiver Greg Childs falls into the latter of those categories. Prior to a torn patella tendon in his knee in the middle of the 2010 season, his name was being thrown around with the likes of Justin Blackmon and Michael Floyd as the top wide receivers that would potentially be coming out in the 2012 draft. He was Ryan Mallet's top receiver at Arkansas and big things were planned.

However, once he suffered the knee injury, everything changed. Not only wasn't he being viewed as a first-round prospect anymore, when the draft finally did come, he was the third Razorbacks receiver to get selected – behind Joe Adams (No. 104 to Carolina) and Vikings teammate Jarius Wright (No. 118, 10 picks ahead of Wright).

Vikings head coach Leslie Frazier agreed with the sentiment, saying that the Vikings jumped on a second wide receiver for a reason – they felt Childs was a value pick that was sitting at the top of their draft board and should have been gone by then. Whether hyperbole or not, Frazier went so far as to drop the infamous S.O.D. card his way.

"His junior season was his best year," Frazier said. "His senior season, coming off an injury, wasn't quite up to the form that he had the year before. We're hoping, like a lot of guys who have knee injuries, that the second year (following surgery) is the breakout year. If that's the case, we'll be the beneficiaries and he could be the steal of the draft."
With so much promise that has yet to be fulfilled, Childs said he comes into the NFL feeling a bit neglected and ready to prove to the teams that passed him by that they were wrong.

"There's a very big chip on my shoulder," Childs said. "I'm not going to sit here and lie and say there's not. Before I got hurt, I was considered one of the top receivers. Since I got hurt, I might not have gone in the round I wanted to go in, but I'm going to come out here and give it my all."

His football career took a dramatic downward turn in October 2010 when he suffered the significant knee injury that required surgery. Expected to miss the entire 2011 season, Childs pushed himself to return as early as possible, trying to make a go of it at spring practice in 2011. He suffered a setback then and, by his own admission, wasn't 100 percent the entire 2011 season.

"The injury I had was a year-and-half (expected healing time)," Childs said. "I came back within seven months. That was completely too soon – almost a year too soon to come back. I had to really wait for it to heal up and it took awhile."

Proclaiming himself 100 percent healthy for the first time in almost two years, Childs is ready to reclaim his position as one of the pre-eminent young receiving talents in the game. He believes he has an advantage over many of the other mid-round rookies that are taking part in the offseason process, because he played in a system at Arkansas that he believes will translate well to the NFL.

"It helps, because the offense we came from, we already ran a pro style," Childs said. "Some of the plays we're doing here are very similar to plays we ran (at Arkansas). That helps a lot."

Another benefit that he sees for both himself and Wright is that, once the Arkansas offense got muddled when Childs went down, when he came back, he, Wright and Adams became interchangeable. On one play, he would line up outside the hashes. The next he would go in motion over the middle. The next he would line up in the slot. He said both of them have learned many of the nuances of all of the wide receiver positions, which gives them not only flexibility, but a knowledge of any potential position he may be asked to play.

"Me and (Jarius) have both learned to play every (receiver) position on the field," Childs said. "If one guy goes down or they need us to fill in at a position, we're able to do that."

As Childs are Wright try to carve out their own niche in the NFL, they do so as the pride of Warren, Ark., population 6,000. In a town that size, Childs said, everybody knows everybody and the entire town is behind both of them in their quest to make it in the NFL. So are the Arkansans now Vikings fans in Warren?

"Not just Warren," Childs said. "I really think the whole State of Arkansas is Vikings fans now."


John Holler has been writing about the Vikings for more than a decade for Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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