Notebook: Gordon Excited About Possibilities

Undrafted rookie cornerback Charles Gordon might get his first playing time of the season – and against Brett Favre no less. Gordon talked about getting called up to the 53-man roster and his preparation.

Cornerback Charles Gordon felt the excitement of getting called up to the 53-man roster this week, but he's hoping it's a start to something more rather than the culmination of one goal.

"It was my goal to get activated and I felt it was going to happen. It's very exciting, but now I want to stay up," said Gordon. "It's all on my shoulders. It's all up to me and what I do."

With a defense that is playing very well and few injuries in the defensive backfield since training camp, Gordon was most likely called up for insurance if the Vikings deem starting cornerback Fred Smoot unready to play Sunday after a week of dealing with the loss of his brother, who was killed in a car accident.

"I'm preparing like I'm going to play a lot, but I don't know what's going to happen," Gordon said of his expectations for Sunday against the Green Bay Packers.

The funeral for Smoot's brother is Saturday, but the Vikings aren't sure of his plans, although Smoot requested and received materials in his native Mississippi to study up for the Packers.

The Vikings had an open roster spot when they released safety Rashad Baker last Saturday.

Second-round draft choice Cedric Griffin is expected to make his first start at right cornerback in Smoot's absence, and if Smoot isn't ready to play, Ronyell Whitaker would be the nickel back. Dwight Smith has also played nickel back in the past, although not with the Vikings this year.

That could leave Gordon as the Vikings' fourth cornerback, a dime back who would likely see some action if the Packers use four receivers. Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin said Gordon's role on Sunday will depend on a number of factors, including Smoot's state of mind and physical conditioning.

It's not like Gordon hasn't faced challenges before. He played receiver, cornerback and punt returner for the Kansas Jayhawks, where he finished as the school's all-time career punt return leader and tied for seventh in KU history for interceptions (nine) and was seventh in receptions (106).

"I'm kind of calm right now. Maybe leading up to game time I'll be more nervous," said Gordon, who said he had been getting most of his practice time covering outside receivers as a member of the practice squad and has just recently become comfortable in the Vikings defense.

"It took awhile. It wasn't too long ago that I really felt comfortable. It's just actually getting out there and getting the reps, being able to rep against the offense. When I got injured, it delayed that, but I feel good now."

Gordon missed about three weeks of training camp and the preseason with a knee injury he suffered early in camp, and he could have been a roster casualty at that time. Instead, he made it back on time to play in the preseason finale against Dallas and get re-signed to the practice squad, where he resided until this week's events unfolded.

Sunday, he could see his first regular-season action against Brett Favre.

"He's a great player, a good quarterback and a veteran guy," Gordon said. "It would be nice to get a pick off him. This is just a dream come true right now. Brett Favre is going to try to change the tempo, but nothing really too complex."

An interception against Favre would cap an exciting week for a multi-talented athlete who went undrafted out of the University of Kansas.

"I think every young boy growing up wants to play in the NFL, NBA or whatever," Gordon said. "The opportunity is here right now. I just want to make the most of it."

LESS TALK, MORE ACTION

Tight end Jermaine Wiggins feels like he's talking about the same things every week – his lack of catches and the struggles of the Vikings offense. Regarding the overall offense, the answers remain the same, just like the questions.

"It's a combination of a lot of things – mistakes, turnovers, penalties," Wiggins said. "We as an offense, we know we can't do those things. When we get into the red zone, we can't have penalties. We can't have lost-yardage plays. You've got to be able to put the ball in the end zone, just somehow, someway make plays when we've got the opportunity."

"It's at that point now that you can't really talk about it anymore, you've got to just go out there and do it."

NOTES

  • The Smoot situation could affect the special teams if Griffin ends up starting.

    "Any time one of our core special teams players goes into a starting role on offense or defense, it has a trickle-down effect on special teams," said Paul Ferraro, special teams coordinator. "We work all those types of scenarios through training camp and in our meetings, so we're ready for those things."

  • Defensive coordinator Mike Tomlin, on what Griffin does well on defense: "The same things that he did well on college tape that made us interested in him in terms of getting ready for the draft. He's a detailed guy. He's a professional guy. He's mature beyond his years, and he plays the game violently. I think those are the types of characteristics that we look for in a defender, not only a corner, but a defender period. He fits that bill. He approaches it day to day. He takes some of the things that his coaches tell him to heart. He's professional in his preparation, and that's why each week he has gotten better."

  • Ferraro said it didn't take Bethel Johnson, who is averaging 24.7 yards per kick return, too long to become comfortable with the Vikings' kick return schemes.

    "Based on what we do in the back end, if somebody's had some experience back there, it wouldn't take long at all," Ferraro said. "If you were a rookie coming out of college, certainly it would take a little bit more time."


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