Greg Childs is standing on his own two feet again. In fact, the Vikings' rookie receiver has been standing and walking for some time now after tearing the patella tendons in both his knees in a training camp scrimmage on Aug. 11.
Childs was back in the Vikings locker room and in good spirits Monday on his way to a rehabilitation workout.
The 2012 fourth-round draft pick tore both patellar tendons when he landed awkwardly on the second-to-last play of a live practice in front of 10,500 fans at Blakeslee Stadium. He had surgery two days later.
"I've been walking for a while. No braces, no nothing, coming in every day, getting the legs stronger, range of motion, working out, lifting weights, all that," Childs said. "It's a long process, but you've just got to be prepared for it, get your head in the game, have your mind set."
Less than three weeks after the injury, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman said doctors found nothing to indicate Childs had anything that would make him predisposed to patellar tendon tears, calling it a "freak" injury that just happened twice.
Childs also tore the patellar tendon in his right knee in October 2010 while at the University of Arkansas and was believed to be back to full strength before the recurrence in August. The Vikings haven't put a timeframe on his return.
"I've never seen a kid so heartbroken because he had put in so much time to come back. He was showing some very good signs through training camp of being a very good receiver for us," Spielman said after Childs' surgery in August. "It was a freak thing that happened because I went back and looked at the tape a hundred times and it was just a normal jump. For whatever reason, it happened."
Childs seemed as upbeat as ever on Monday. He didn't want to get into specifics with his rehab, but he said he has plenty of people asking him via Twitter how he is doing.
He left little doubt about his goals.
"Next season. I'll be back on the field next season," he said. "So, I'll be back out there running around doing my thing, making plays."
Having gone through the rehabilitation process once already is an advantage for the second time around, he said. However, this time he has the added challenge of trying to rehabilitate both knees at the same time.
The Vikings knew of only one other case where an NFL player, Wendell Davis, a receiver for the Chicago Bears, tore both patellar tendons. Davis' injury came in a 1993 game at Vet Stadium in Philadelphia. He missed the 1994 season and attempted to come back and play for the Indianapolis Colts in 1995 but didn't appear in a game.
"I like to do things that people think other people can't do. I've got a strong head," Childs said. "You can ask any of the players in here. I come in here attitude good every day and in here trying to get right, trying to get back on the field. I'm going to do everything I can to step back on the field for next season."
Vikings coach Leslie Frazier acknowledged shortly after the injury that Childs has "a tough road ahead of him" and that his attitude and focus would be needed to "get you through some dark days."
Childs said he has leaned on his faith and family.
"I think if anyone has the mindset if he's going to work his tail off to come back, that kid is going to do it," Spielman said. "But he's got a long road ahead of him."
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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