The news came Sunday morning, Minnesota Vikings rookie wide receiver Greg Childs tore the patellar tendons in both of his knees after laying out for a catch during Saturday night's practice scrimmage.
It's a devastating injury for a player who had previously torn the patellar tendon in his left knee during his junior season at Arkansas, essentially derailing the rest of his collegiate career.
Child's dropped to the Minnesota Vikings in the fourth round due to the knee injury but appeared to be headed in the right direction through the first week of training camp. He even made the highlight reel for his outstanding catch over cornerback Brandon Burton.
The worst part however, is this could likely spell the end of Childs' professional playing career. I never want to doubt a player's heart and strength towards working back from an injury, but this will be his third knee surgery in the last two years—and he hasn't even played a down in the NFL.
While I hope for a full and speedy recovery for the young player, it's hard to imagine he will ever return to the form he showed prior to injury.
Before the injury, talk arose that Childs would be the favorite to start at the split end position, while wide receiver Jerome Simpson serves his three-game suspension, due to his rare combination of size and speed. Now, the Vikings will have to look elsewhere.
So who do they turn to?
# 84 Michael Jenkins:
Michael Jenkins started at the split end position for the Vikings in 2011 when he was signed to a three-year deal after the lockout was lifted last offseason. The Vikings were in need of a player who knew offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave's system.
Jenkins was a reliable receiver in 2011, hauling in 38 receptions for 466 yards and three touchdowns, before tearing the meniscus in his knee and was placed on injured reserve in November. What Jenkins possesses in size (6'4" 225 lbs.) and reliable hands, he lacks in speed. The 30-year-old wideout has eclipsed 100 yards receiving only once in his eight-year NFL career.
While his knee injury appears to be 100 percent healed, Jenkins is due $2.5 million in 2011 and just doesn't have the speed and separation needed at the split-end position. He's nothing more than a number three or four receiver on the Vikings roster.
# 19 Devin Aromoshadu:
Signed as a free agent last season, Aromashodu started six games at the split-end position for the Vikings and performed rather well, recording 26 receptions for 468 yards and a touchdown. He even led the Vikings in yards per catch last season (18.3) But while Aromashodu has legit speed for the position, he has very inconsistent hands.
In my opinion, however, he's the best bet to take the place of Childs due to his knowledge of Musgrave's system, size (6'2" 200 lbs) and speed. If he can become more consistent when tracking the ball he could prove to be a viable option for the Vikings
He was re-signed this offseason to a one-year deal and is a dark-horse candidate to start in place of Jerome Simpson during the first three games.
# 11 Stephen Burton:
Burton was drafted in the seventh round out of West Texas A&M in last years draft by the Vikings after a nice showing at the NFL combine. Burton is only 22 years old but has a great blend of size (6'1" 220 lbs.) and speed.
Other than his two receptions for 38 yards last season, there isn't much tape on Burton. However, he looked great in this year's OTAs and seems to be coming on strong this offseason.
If he can continue to grow on the field and wok to create chemistry with Ponder, then Burton could be an excellent option to take the role of Greg Childs.
While none of the players right now jump off the page, they each could provide Minnesota with solid play while Simpson serves his suspension, something the Vikings were hoping Greg Childs would provide and more...