5 Young Minnesota Vikings Who Should Get More Playing Time
One of the benefits of being on the end of a losing season is the opportunity afforded to said team of getting their younger players more playing time on the field.
This is a golden opportunity for the Vikings to send their "youth brigade" onto the field for the remainder of the season, in an effort to get a leg up on the player's development.
This leg-up will also help the Vikings gain the advantage next year when camp comes rolling around.
Some of the players mentioned have already seen the field; some have not, but either way, these fab five certainly need more playing time NOW before the chance is gone.
So, want to know who's who? Come take a look and feel free to leave your own nomination with a little reason why down below to get the discussion going.
Stephen Burton: WR
After recently being released, the Vikings brought back Stephen Burton, who was pretty much considered a guy who wasn't quite up to snuff at the pro level.
While Burton filled in admirably last week—two catches for 38 yards against Denver—the Vikings should really give this kid a deeper look considering the amount of questions they will have to face at WR this offseason.
At this point, it can't hurt anyway, so why not?
Ryan D'Imperio: FB
Here's another player the Vikings really didn't have room for initially and didn't see amounting into much at all.
For those of you who do not know, D'Imperio's role is primarily a lead blocker in certain situations, but this kid is not only experienced as a runner and pass catching FB; he is also an experienced linebacker, which presents an interesting situation for Minnesota.
The Vikings could toy with the notion of letting him float all over the place and allow him to show the squad why they should continue to develop him and keep him.
I think D'Imperio has a lot of value as a player the Vikings should be looking at before year's end.
Christian Ballard: DL
I think it is time to allow Ballard some additional playing time and see what the kid can do on a slightly more consistent basis.
Ballard has had some playing time here and there, and he is still widely considered a developmental player, but what better way to gauge a "developmental" player than to get his feet wet?
There's only a few games remaining in the 2011 season, and it would be a perfect opportunity to see how he responds to a weekly regiment.
Marcus Sherels: DB
While Sherels is already playing quite a bit, I would like to see the Vikings plug him into a defense that has been absolutely decimated by injuries this year.
As a return man, Sherels has done a solid job, but the Vikings do have Greg Camarillo, so why not get the kid out there more consistently on D and see what he can do?
There's no risk here; only gain.
D'Aundre Reed: DL
The 6'5", 261-pound lineman has been sitting there in Minnesota nearly all year long, and despite being the 215th overall pick in the draft, Reed is a guy that the Vikings should definitely get more involved.
Again, this is a time for young players to see additional playing time and prove their worth—Reed is a certain candidate that falls under that category.
To remind, Reed was highly considered a player who was significantly underrated coming out of the draft.