Another Day, Another Defensive Move

While Jermaine Mays' move from wide receiver to cornerback may be out of necessity because of injuries ravaging the defensive backfield, Mays' coaches thought about the move all the way back in college.

Jermaine Mays faced an uphill battle at wide receiver. During spring minicamps he had some of the best catches of the corps. But he wasn't always consistent and he wasn't as polished as guys like Kelly Campbell and Nate Burleson, who came from passing offenses in college.

So for that reason and because of the Vikings' lack of depth in the defensive backfield, the Vikings moved Mays from wide receiver to cornerback during Monday's practice. He won't be expected to contribute much there during the regular season if he makes the team, unlike the situation Robert Tate faced with the Vikings when he made the transition from one side of the ball to the other, but the Vikings really like Mays' potential on special teams.

"We are really hurting at DB. We are hurting at corner — I don't think talent-wise, I think numbers-wise we are down to four corners," head coach Mike Tice said. "We have some hamstrings that we are nursing along. We certainly want to see Jermaine Mays make our football team. Being that he is a Gopher, being that he is a young man who has great special teams potential."

Tice said he talked to Mays' former head coach, University of Minnesota's Glen Mason, last week, and Mason said Mays might be better at cornerback. For now, the Vikings are hoping to get back a number of their corners who have been sidelined with hamstring injuries in time for the preseason opener Saturday night against Jacksonville.

Until then, Mays will be getting more reps at his new position of cornerback and continues to fight for a roster spot through his contributions on special teams, both in kick coverage and punt blocking.

* The depth at wide receiver is shaping up. Tice said Kelly Campbell is the No. 3 wide receiver and Nate Burleson is No. 4. Keenan Howry has the advantage right now for the fifth spot. The Vikings will keep five or six receivers on the 53-man roster.
* The Vikings are still missing a number of key players on defense. Defensive end Lorenzo Bromell is still struggling with a strained medial collateral ligament, while linebacker Raonall Smith, cornerbacks Eric Kelly, Denard Walker, Brian Williams and Horace Willis were all limited.

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