Notebook: New receivers catch on quickly

The Vikings added two receivers to the roster this week and they got involved in game action and contributed only days after joining the team. In fact, they provided some of the bright spots in an uneven offense. Plus, Chris Cook makes his stand at cornerback.

Without Sidney Rice, the Vikings' newest pair of receivers made an immediate impression.

Greg Camarillo was hardly eased into the offense. By his estimation, he was in on about 15 plays, but he was targeted five times and led the Vikings with four receptions and 47 receiving yards.

"Obviously I thought Greg gave a great account of himself after really just getting here and running through some stuff on (Thursday)," Childress said. "He got in 10 p.m. (Wednesday) night. I met him on the way down to a red zone meeting. He's got amazing football IQ, just from watching him play right there."

Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian started the game at receiver, but Camarillo was quickly immersed. He kept the team's second drive going with two big third-down receptions – a 22-yarder on third-and-9 and a 12-yarder on third-and-7.

Not bad for a receiver who was traded for on Wednesday and was trying to learn a completely different offense in only one full practice and a Friday walk-through.

"It's just really learning the terminology. Football is football," Camarillo said. "… All the plays end up in one way or another are the same with all the concepts. So you just have to learn the terminology and pick it up fast."

Javon Walker was signed on Tuesday and began practicing immediately. He ended up tying Camarillo for the team lead by being the target of five passes, catching two of those for 25 yards.

Despite his experience in the West Coast offense from his four years in Green Bay and his familiarity with Brett Favre, Walker was used less with the first-team offense than Camarillo. Walker's biggest contribution came midway through the fourth quarter when he made an impressive adjustment to a Sage Rosenfels throw and came down with a 25-yard touchdown catch in between two defenders.

"Javon didn't get as many turns as I would have liked to see, but he made a hell of a catch that Sage gave him an opportunity to go up and get," Childress said.


Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe admitted that the first-team offense wasn't as smooth as it could have been, but with new receivers working into the system he thinks the offense will get right soon.

"We're going to get that on track, definitely. We just need a little time," Shiancoe said. "The backups are going to step up. It's definitely not going to derail us because we've got too much talent on this offense to miss a beat."

Childress said the offense is still "in flux," a phrase he also used earlier in the week to describe it, but it still seemed to apply with Brett Favre throwing two interceptions.

The first came early in the second quarter. Favre threw a bullet to Bernard Berrian on a slant and the ball went off Berrian and into the waiting arms of safety Earl Thomas, who returned it 86 yards for a touchdown.

"Actually the timing was perfect. [With] Bernard, that's not going to happen. I haven't really talked to him about it. He was disappointed he didn't catch it," Favre said. "I don't know if he kind of took his eyes off of it; he hit it running. It was kind of just one of those fluke things."

Favre's second interception appeared to be more his fault. On the first drive of the second half, Camarillo was running down the right sideline with CB Marcus Trufant in coverage. When Favre lofted the pass, Trufant was the only player with a chance at it and came down with the interception.

"He's typically a slot guy, and that's the plays he made tonight," Favre said of Camarillo. "I was kind of disappointed I threw a pick over to him. I sort of misjudged his speed and threw it a little too far. I really wanted to give him a jump ball, just to see what he could do."


Rookie Chris Cook got the start at right cornerback and held up well. He wasn't tested often in coverage – he said he only got one pass thrown his way – but he may have been taking lessons from left cornerback Antoine Winfield on how to sift through traffic and stick a tackle.

"I'm not sure how many coverage opportunities he had, but I think he did a good job reacting to screens inside," Childress said.

Childress said he'd have to look at the tape for a full evaluation on Cook, but it appears he could be in line to start the season with the first-team defense.

"I feel that I have done all I can. Again, I am not the decision-maker. (Defensive coordinator Leslie) Frazier and the other coaches made that decision," Cook said.

"… I would be excited (to be the opening-day starter). As a competitor, you've got to live for a big game. I love big games and I love competing."

Cook ended up on the sidelines with his right knee wrapped in ice, but he said he would be ready for action in Thursday night's preseason finale.

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