Questions About WRs Sound Familiar

Last year, the group receiving the most media attention was linebacker. This year, the questioning is most frequently focused on the wide receivers.

The concern surrounding the Vikings receiver situation sounds familiar to Brad Childress.

The Vikings coach compares it to the worry voiced about his team's linebacking corps entering last season. Can Napoleon Harris rebound from a disappointing 2005? Is E.J. Henderson going to be a good fit at the weak side in the Tampa-2? Will free-agent signee Ben Leber be able to make an immediate impact and avoid injury?

All these questions were eventually answered by Harris, Henderson and Leber.

Harris rebounded so well that he got a big free-agent pay day from Kansas City. Henderson also excelled, having his best season as a pro and earning a contract extension, and Leber stayed healthy and consistently performed at a high level.

A year later, Childress is now listening to frequent queries about the state of his receivers and who he expects to emerge. The Vikings appear to be counting on free-agent Bobby Wade, 2005 first-round pick Troy Williamson and 2007 second-round pick Sidney Rice the most among the 12 receivers on their roster.

The depth chart also has seen continual shuffling with former Jaguars receiver Randy Hymes recently being released and former Lions receiver Paris Hamilton being signed.

The Vikings also are keeping close tabs on free agent Justin Surrency, who has been playing in NFL Europa for Amsterdam. Surrency had 12 receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown a couple weeks back in a loss to Rhein but then was shut out the following week against Cologne.

The biggest long shot, but a player with a potential upside, is former NCAA Division III high-jump champion and college basketball player Todd Lowber. Lowber had never played football in his life before signing with the Vikings but has exceptional speed and appears to be a quick study. He almost certainly will get a long look in training camp.

NOTES

  • Vikings running back Adrian Peterson will be honored in his hometown of Palestine, Texas, on June 28.

  • Former NFL quarterback Rich Gannon was invited to one of the Vikings' OTA practices to work with the quarterbacks. Gannon still lives in the Twin Cities and is friends with coach Brad Childress.

    QUOTE TO NOTE: "It's all about reps with young quarterbacks. And that's what I saw him getting today. Not only that, but being put in different situations. All of the quarterbacks, I think they did a nice job of adjusting to those situations." — Rich Gannon on what he saw from Vikings quarterbacks Tarvaris Jackson, Brooks Bollinger, Drew Henson and Tyler Thigpen during the OTA session he attended.


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