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Wanting to make Christian Ponder's life easier, the Vikings signed tight end John Carlson and selected Greg Childs and Jarius Wright in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft.
The No. 2 priority for Minnesota, after fixing its secondary, was providing Christian Ponder with better offensive weapons.
So Minnesota signed tight end John Carlson and wide receiver Jerome Simpson and drafted Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the fourth round of the 2012 NFL draft.
Carlson wasn't the sexy pickup Minnesota fans craved for and didn't fill a NEED for the Vikings, but he's a proven pass-catching tight end who will provide a sure-handed option for an offense in need of receivers.
Before missing the 2011 season with a torn labrum, Carlson averaged 45 receptions for 506 receiving yards and four receiving touchdowns. His averages would have made him second in all three categories on the 2011 Vikings.
Simpson is suspended for the first three games of the season after possession of marijuana but caught 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns last season. Minnesota believes he can become the deep threat the team desires.
Wright and Childs were both available in the fourth round for a reason. Both have the talent to be main-stays as NFL receivers, but both have question marks.
Childs hasn't been the same player since a patellar tendon injury that was suffered in Oct. 2010.
He showed signs of improvement as the draft process unfolded. He ran a 4.55 second 40-yard dash at the 2012 NFL combine in February. He dropped that time to 4.41 seconds in March at Arkansas' Pro Day. His standing vertical leap improved from 36.5'' at the combine to 41.5''. That jump would have been third-best among receivers at the combine.
Childs is out to prove himself the "steal of the draft," as reported in this piece by Pro Football Talk. At 6'3" and 217 pounds, he has the size and speed to be a playmaking receiver. He just needs to show it on the field.
Wright is built very much in the same mode as Percy Harvin. He's a short (5'10") and bulky receiver who welcomes contact. He plays the position with physicality, is fast and runs good routes. The concerns with him are about how he'll handle larger defensive backs.
The addition of these three still won't give Ponder talented enough toys to make the postseason, but he will be better off in 2012 than he was in 2011.