New Vikings receiver Greg Lewis said Vikings coach Brad Childress was the first coach to instill a bit of confidence in him.
It started early in Lewis' career with the Philadelphia Eagles – real early, like the fourth practice or so when Childress was the offensive coordinator there.
"When I came into the league as a rookie free agent, I was making plays in Philadelphia. After one of the minicamps, Coach Childress came up to me and said, ‘Just keep doing what you're doing. You can play and you're going to get opportunity,'" Lewis said on Thursday, his first day inside the Vikings locker room. "That was the first coach that really gave me the opportunity and I felt like had confidence in me to go out and do some things. To be back with him, it's a blessing for me and I'm happy to be here and I'm excited."
When Lewis was made available after he released by the New England Patriots on Monday. He was traded to the Patriots from the Eagles in March.
"It was surprising, but things happen in the NFL. That's the nature of it," Lewis said of his release from the Patriots. "You have to be prepared in all situations and I wished them the best of luck. I wish it could have worked out differently. It didn't. I'm here now. I'm happy to be here and I'm moving forward."
Lewis will at least be in an offense with which he's familiar, which should help him transition and be able to contribute more quickly. When that might be, he doesn't know.
"I know some of the concepts, some of the plays and I feel comfortable, but there is always wrinkles and new things. I'm ready and willing to dive into the playbook and get caught up to speed so I can be productive," he said.
Lewis said he knows all of the receiver positions in the offense, but he will have to become accustomed to things the Vikings do differently before feeling ready.
"I'm not going to set a timetable and say tomorrow I'll know it all or three weeks from now I'll know it all. I'm just going to learn it as quickly as possible and whenever that happens, that will be the time that I'm able to do something," he said.
"… I'm really not trying to come in and be some savior or anything. I'm just coming in and trying to find a role on the team and do what the coaches ask of me. Whatever that may be, that's what I can add to the team."
Lewis can also contribute on several phases of special teams. Bobby Wade, who was released to make room for Lewis, returned punts last year but otherwise wasn't a big part of the special teams.
"I'm not going to pinpoint one thing and say I'm going to do that and be the best ever at it. I'm capable of doing whatever is asked and do it to the best of my ability," he said.
Wade had led the team in receptions each of the last two years, when he had 53 and 54 receptions and exceeded 640 yards each of those seasons.
Lewis has exceeded 25 receptions just once in his career, when he had 48 receptions for 561 yards in 2005.
WR Bernard Berrian said it's always difficult to see good teammates released, especially after Wade agreed to restructure his deal last week.
"Definitely a lot harder," Berrian said. "And then he still ends up getting released. But, you know, it might turn out to be a better situation for him and he'll probably become a great addition on somebody else's team."
At the time Wade restructured his deal, Lewis was still on the Patriots' roster.
Lewis liking reunion with Childress
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