Greg Camarillo's whole life has been turned upside down in a matter of two weeks.
The Vikings traded for Camarillo on Aug. 25 when their receiver corps seemed to be taking hit after hit. Sidney Rice hasn't practiced since minicamp and had hip surgery that will put him out until at least late October. Percy Harvin struggled with debilitating migraine headaches in training camp. And Jaymar Johnson was placed on injured reserve.
Enter Camarillo, who has been on a crash course to learn the Vikings offense.
"The more time you spend with the team the more comfortable you get. I've just got to get up to speed and get this whole offense down," he said.
He appears to be a quick learner. After only one full practice with the Vikings, he led the team with four receptions for 47 yards in the preseason's most important time for regular contributors, the third preseason game against the Seattle Seahawks on Aug. 28.
"They put me in the right position to succeed. I had a certain amount of plays to memorize," Camarillo said. "They put me out there in a position to make plays. It was a group effort, I guess you could say. They put me in the right position to make a play and fortunately I was able to make it.
"… Obviously they didn't throw the whole playbook at me. I had a limited playbook. I've got to pick it all up by (the Saints game). It's no excuse. I've been here long enough to figure things out."
Camarillo figures to be a big part of the Vikings offense from the outset. Without Rice, the team's leading receiver last year who had a Pro Bowl season, they are short on experienced, productive receivers.
Bernard Berrian and Percy Harvin are the familiar names, but Camarillo could quickly catch on as one of Brett Favre's reliable targets. He's been working on earning Favre's trust, but so far that Aug. 28 preseason contest was his only game action with Favre.
"That obviously comes with time. The more you work together, the more trust you'll have, but we have to kind of expedite that process," Camarillo said. "… Hopefully we'll get some extra reps in practice and get the chemistry going."
Despite the changes in the receiving personnel, including the loss of Rice for a couple months, Favre said he might be more confident in the offense this year than he was after signing last year in August.
"I've obviously been around a long time and know how difficult it is to perform. I do feel as confident as I did this time last year, maybe even a little more confident," he said. "I didn't know what to expect last year. I had never played in a real game with these guys. Most of these guys I have now. Sidney's not in there, Percy's been out some. But if you think back to last year, none of us knew what Percy could do. We're having to work a few new guys in there."
Camarillo may be one of those designated new guys in Minnesota, but he is proven from his time in Miami. In each of the last two seasons he has had at least 50 catches for 550 yards with Chad Pennington and Chad Henne as his quarterbacks.
Now it's just a matter of getting comfortable with a new offense and new (to Camarillo) quarterback.
"You can always learn the playbook, but getting the reps always helps. Whatever they put on my plate, I've got to learn it and be ready Thursday," he said.
"They've done a great job helping me in extra meetings, walk-throughs, that kind of thing, getting me prepared. I've just got to take it on at night on my own, looking at the playbook and memorizing things and being prepared for the next day."
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this story on our subscriber message board.
Camarillo on crash course with offense
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