Health, familiarity the obstacles for Childs

Receiver Greg Childs has all the physical tools, as demonstrated early in his junior season, but injuries have hindered his progress since then. If healthy and comfortable with the offense, he provides a tantalizing package of talent. Childs and WRs coach George Stewart discussed the situation.

After knee and groin injuries held back Greg Childs the past 1½ years, it might now be his brain determining how much playing time he receives as a rookie.

Childs, now 20 months removed from a patella tendon injury to his right knee, is back with a suddenness and purpose. Before he injured the knee in October 2010 and missed the final five games of the Arkansas Razorbacks' season, he was considered a borderline first-day pick in the NFL draft if he had declared himself eligible after his junior, according to NFL Draft Report. But after dramatically rushing his recovery and trying to come back last spring well ahead of schedule, his senior season was a downer.

As a junior, he led Arkansas with 46 catches for 659 yards and six touchdowns, despite missing the final five games with his knee injury. He admittedly tried to come back far too early and participate in spring practices last year. By the time his senior season rolled around, he was starting just three games and finished sixth on the team with 21 receptions for 240 yards and no touchdowns.

Now the speed that helped make him a multi-dimensional threat at Arkansas appears to have returned.

"It's coming," said Vikings receivers coach George Stewart. "I had that same injury. He had a patella tendon and it caused me to get out of football completely. He's able to battle back. It's an 18-month injury. I think this is about the 16th or 17th month after that surgery, so he's getting close. By the time we get to training camp, he should be completely healthy, but he's fighting it right now. I think he's going to be healthy enough to help us this year."

If he is, that could be a big boost to an offense that lacked an outside deep threat last year and won't have free-agent signee Jerome Simpson for the first three games this year.

At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Childs showed he was well on his way to recovery by running a 4.53-second 40-yard dash. That's not bad for a 6-foot-3, 217-pound receiver, but he improved on that at his pro day, being clocked around 4.4 by some in attendance.

Childs is conservative in talking about his role and his expectations, but it is clear that if he remains on the practice field, he has a chance to be a contributor.

"I'm more of the bigger receiver. They want a vertical threat, jump balls and things like that, stretch the field. Just a bigger receiver," he said. "I'm willing to play whatever role I need to."

In addition to the returning speed and the height, Childs showed other aspects of his athleticism at February's combine. He registered a 36½-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-5 broad jump. He tied for fifth among receivers by bench-pressing 225 pounds 19 times.

Still, concerns about his knee injury helped cause his draft stock to fall into the fourth round in April. In May, he strained a groin at the Vikings' rookie minicamp but was starting to round back into form in June before the Vikings took their month-plus break before training camp's first practice on July 27.

The injuries have put him behind other receivers on the learning curve.

"He did not get those reps early. He missed 2½ weeks where Jarius (Wright) and (Emmanuel) Arceneaux were getting the reps," Stewart said. "You want to have mental reps, but you also want to have a chance to do it. It's like signing your name. I can see somebody signing my name, but if I don't actually do it, it's hard for me to write it. With him, it gives him a chance to be successful."

"… A patella tendon is just horrific injury for anybody to have, especially a receiver because there's so much cutting – there is so much pressure on that tendon and plus it was a surgical repair. Like I said, I can speak to it because I had it, but hopefully he can have a chance to bounce back and get back to where he was at Arkansas."

Childs said the practices he was able to participate in helped his timing with quarterback Christian Ponder, and he said head coach Leslie Frazier noted the improved path for the offense.

Stewart said once Childs understands the offense, he will have a chance to be a contributor. The next month will be a combination of progress for him – continued physical healing and, the coaches hope, continued progress in learning the offense despite the time away from Winter Park.

For the now, the comparisons are lofty. NFL Draft Report compared Childs to the New York Giants' Hakeem Nicks. Stewart had to think on it and talk it through, but his comparison for Childs ended up being former Detroit Lions receiver Herman Moore.

"He's a big athlete. He's a 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete. Long arms. Muscular," Stewart said. "In terms of reminding me of someone, no. But he's a big athlete. Herman Moore is a guy that comes to mind. Big, long body with long levers. But hopefully Greg can give us a chance to stretch the defense and make plays down the field."

Health permitting, that's the plan.


Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.



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\r\n\r\n","mobileBody":"After knee and groin injuries held back Greg Childs the past 1½ years, it might now be his brain determining how much playing time he receives as a rookie. Childs, now 20 months removed from a patella tendon injury to his right knee, is back with a suddenness and purpose. Before he injured the knee in October 2010 and missed the final five games of the Arkansas Razorbacks' season, he was considered a borderline first-day pick in the NFL draft if he had declared himself eligible after his junior, according to NFL Draft Report. But after dramatically rushing his recovery and trying to come back last spring well ahead of schedule, his senior season was a downer. As a junior, he led Arkansas with 46 catches for 659 yards and six touchdowns, despite missing the final five games with his knee injury. He admittedly tried to come back far too early and participate in spring practices last year. By the time his senior season rolled around, he was starting just three games and finished sixth on the team with 21 receptions for 240 yards and no touchdowns. Now the speed that helped make him a multi-dimensional threat at Arkansas appears to have returned. \"It's coming,\" said Vikings receivers coach George Stewart. \"I had that same injury. He had a patella tendon and it caused me to get out of football completely. He's able to battle back. It's an 18-month injury. I think this is about the 16th or 17th month after that surgery, so he's getting close. By the time we get to training camp, he should be completely healthy, but he's fighting it right now. I think he's going to be healthy enough to help us this year.\" If he is, that could be a big boost to an offense that lacked an outside deep threat last year and won't have free-agent signee Jerome Simpson for the first three games this year. At the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Childs showed he was well on his way to recovery by running a 4.53-second 40-yard dash. That's not bad for a 6-foot-3, 217-pound receiver, but he improved on that at his pro day, being clocked around 4.4 by some in attendance. Childs is conservative in talking about his role and his expectations, but it is clear that if he remains on the practice field, he has a chance to be a contributor. \"I'm more of the bigger receiver. They want a vertical threat, jump balls and things like that, stretch the field. Just a bigger receiver,\" he said. \"I'm willing to play whatever role I need to.\" In addition to the returning speed and the height, Childs showed other aspects of his athleticism at February's combine. He registered a 36½-inch vertical jump and 10-foot-5 broad jump. He tied for fifth among receivers by bench-pressing 225 pounds 19 times. Still, concerns about his knee injury helped cause his draft stock to fall into the fourth round in April. In May, he strained a groin at the Vikings' rookie minicamp but was starting to round back into form in June before the Vikings took their month-plus break before training camp's first practice on July 27. The injuries have put him behind other receivers on the learning curve. \"He did not get those reps early. He missed 2½ weeks where Jarius (Wright) and (Emmanuel) Arceneaux were getting the reps,\" Stewart said. \"You want to have mental reps, but you also want to have a chance to do it. It's like signing your name. I can see somebody signing my name, but if I don't actually do it, it's hard for me to write it. With him, it gives him a chance to be successful.\" \"… A patella tendon is just horrific injury for anybody to have, especially a receiver because there's so much cutting – there is so much pressure on that tendon and plus it was a surgical repair. Like I said, I can speak to it because I had it, but hopefully he can have a chance to bounce back and get back to where he was at Arkansas.\" Childs said the practices he was able to participate in helped his timing with quarterback Christian Ponder, and he said head coach Leslie Frazier noted the improved path for the offense. Stewart said once Childs understands the offense, he will have a chance to be a contributor. The next month will be a combination of progress for him – continued physical healing and, the coaches hope, continued progress in learning the offense despite the time away from Winter Park. For the now, the comparisons are lofty. NFL Draft Report compared Childs to the New York Giants' Hakeem Nicks. Stewart had to think on it and talk it through, but his comparison for Childs ended up being former Detroit Lions receiver Herman Moore. \"He's a big athlete. He's a 6-foot-3, 220-pound athlete. Long arms. Muscular,\" Stewart said. \"In terms of reminding me of someone, no. But he's a big athlete. Herman Moore is a guy that comes to mind. Big, long body with long levers. But hopefully Greg can give us a chance to stretch the defense and make plays down the field.\" Health permitting, that's the plan. 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