Operation Offense

With training camp just days away from opening, VU looks at four players you should know on the offensive side of the ball that could have an impact on training camp as well as during the regular season for the 2006 Vikings.

Everyone is trying to make a name for themselves during the preseason, whether their spot on the roster is assured or not.

Here are four names that may be new to most Vikings fans, but guys who could have an impact in the preseason and beyond for the Vikes this season.

RB Taurean Henderson -- An undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, Henderson could be the closest thing Brad Childress has to a Brian Westbrook clone in his new setting. Henderson set the all-time Division I record for receptions by a running back with 303 and could be an ideal hybrid receiver option in the West Coast Offense.

G Artis Hicks -- When Chad Greenway was drafted, Childress refused to anoint him immediately as a starter. When the team shipped a late-round pick to the Eagles for Hicks, Childress didn't mince his words – immediately proclaiming Hicks as his starter at right guard. A veteran who has been forced to play left tackle in a pinch and make several starts along the Eagles offensive line, Childress knows exactly what he's getting and is convinced he can make the transition to the Vikings O-line and make a unit that includes Matt Birk, Steve Hutchinson and Bryant McKinnie one of the best in the NFL.

FB Steven Jackson -- With the Vikings moving to the WCO and employing a fullback, Tony Richardson is clearly the starter, but Jackson, who spent time at Tennessee State and Clemson, could have a decent shot to make the roster. The Vikings signed free agent Joey Goodspeed during free agency, but he's lost for the season with a knee injury, which could open the door for Jackson – a punishing lead blocker who could see time both at fullback and on special teams.

WR Billy McMullen -- Another former Childress disciple from Philadelphia, McMullen was acquired last month in a trade for undrafted rookie WR Hank Baskett. While his numbers haven't been outstanding, he has the clearest vision of the Eagles version of the WCO of any wide receiver on the team, which should give him an advantage in trying to lock down one of the last wide receiver spots available.


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