Minnesota Vikings: Greg Childs' Injury Means Rest of Draft Class Must Step Up

Chris Schad@@crishadContributor IIIAugust 5, 2012

May 4, 2012; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Greg Childs (85) watches another player as part of a drill at rookie camp at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE
Bruce Kluckhohn-US PRESSWIRE

In the 2012 draft class, wide receiver Greg Childs was expected to be a huge contributor for the Minnesota Vikings.

For a team desperate for receiver help alongside Percy Harvin, the Vikings thought they had found their man who slipped through the cracks after tearing his patellar tendon in his right knee two years ago at Arkansas.

Then came Saturday night where Childs, one of the Vikings' three fourth-round picks last April, tore his patellar tendons in both his left and right knees.

The injury is so significant that only one player has suffered the same fate, and former Browns cornerback Gary Baxter never made it back to the NFL after sustaining the injury in October 2006.

With such a grim prognosis, the attention shifts to the rest of a Viking draft class that needs to be one of the strongest in recent memory to help rebuild a team that went 3-13 one season ago.

The Vikings seemed to have started out solid, as Childs was receiving strong reviews along with the fourth overall pick Matt Kalil, but after Childs' injury that may start to look a little bit cloudier.

Harrison Smith has been running with the second-string defense so far, and Josh Robinson is already nursing a hamstring injury suffered within the first couple days of camp.

While Smith's situation could be a case of coaches trying to make a rookie earn his stripes, this is not the start that general manager Rick Spielman envisioned when drafting these players last April.

For the Vikings to be successful over the next decade, Childs' fellow members of the rookie class must step up and be what Spielman thought he was getting.

If that doesn't happen, the Vikings may stay in their rut for another couple of seasons, and the Spielman regime could be over shortly after it started.