Minnesota Vikings: 5 Training Camp Battles We're Looking Forward To
The Minnesota Vikings need to make the best out of their time in training camp and figure out who will be a starter by the preseason.
The 2012 NFL draft was great for the Vikings because they addressed almost every single area of need. They got Matt Kalil, who will automatically start at left tackle on day one, Harrison Smith, who will also start at strong safety on day one, and a bunch of other borderline starters.
There will be a lot of battles on both sides of the ball. The Vikings' roster from last year was not oozing with talent, and there are some fourth or fifth rounders who could replace last years starters.
Let's take a look at the five training camp battles Viking fans will be looking forward to.
Greg Childs vs. Michael Jenkins vs. Jerome Simpson
Michael Jenkins was the No. 2 option for Christian Ponder last season. The Vikings signed him because of his 6'4", 216 pound body. However, he did not produce very well last season.
The Vikings needed to add some more size to their lineup so they went out and signed free agent Jerome Simpson and drafted rookie Greg Childs out of Arkansas.
Considering Simpson is suspended for the first three games of the season, Childs or Jenkins may have the upper hand because they have the ability to show their production during the first couple weeks of the regular season.
However, during camp, all three of these big receivers will have a chance to prove to the coaching staff why they should be Ponder's main target and Percy Harvin's compliment. At this point, it seems likely that Childs might be the starter from day one based on what we have seem from him in college, but that can all change when Simpson gets back from his suspension.
This should be the most interesting battle of training camp.
Josh Robinson vs. Asher Allen vs Chris Carr
The Vikings likely have their two starting cornerbacks set with Antoine Winfield and Chris Cook. However, the slot cornerback position is still up for grabs.
This battle will be between rookie Josh Robinson, who ran a 4.3 second 40-yard-dash at camp and loves to tackle, a very suspect Asher Allen, and Chris Carr, who has produced very well at this position.
Allen was in the slot a lot last season and he played very poorly. Don't expect Allen to win this battle at all because both Carr and Robinson look better fit for this position.
This battle should be very interesting. Carr has done well in this position but Robinson looks like a great prospect who could lock down the speedy receivers in the slot.
However, Antoine Winfield may end up moving to the slot so this may be a battle for the outside starting cornerback position. Carr may win it based on his experience, but Robinson has an equal chance at the position because of his elite speed and tackling.
Jarius Wright vs. Devin Aromashodu
Believe it or not, Devin Aromashodu was thrown at more than Percy Harvin last season.
The Vikings re-signed Aromashodu in the offseason for unknown reasons. Maybe the Vikings see something in him that no one else does. However, he is likely going to stick around with the team and maybe be the fourth or fifth option, which is an upgrade over Greg Camarillo.
The Vikings also drafted another wide receiver, Jarius Wright, in the draft. During his time as an Arkansas Razorback, Wright turned a lot of heads. Wright looks and plays like Harvin, and if he is able to show that he is close to a carbon copy of the Vikings' best receiver, then the team may have to put him in as the fourth wide receiver option.
This should be an interesting battle, but it won't necessarily be a one-on-one battle. There will be a constant fight for wide receiver positioning with Jenkins, Simpson, Wright, Childs and Aromashodu. Harvin is already a starter and there is no changing that, so it should be interesting to see who will make the team and who will be on the practice squad.
Don't be surprised if Childs, Wright, Simpson and Harvin are your first four options at wide receiver when the preseasons starts.
Letroy Guion vs. Fred Evans vs. Christian Ballard
The Vikings did not have starting nose tackle Pat Williams in 2011 and that is a big reason why the defensive line allowed so many great rushers to take advantage of them last season.
Williams is long gone and so is Remi Ayodele. Now the Vikings need to find out who will be their starter on day one. Christian Ballard is the most talented out of the group, but he does not have the size for the position. Guion was supposed to be the guy, but he has not done much in his career as a Viking to prove that this is his position to lose. And Fred Evans has done about the same.
The Vikings gave Guion a three-year contract in the offseason. They will likely put him in the starting position in preseason. However, expect Evans and Ballard to come in and help the line as much as possible.
Jarius Wright vs. Josh Robinson vs. Percy Harvin
The Vikings will have three options for kick returners during training camp; Harvin, Wright and Robinson.
Harvin is the Vikings' second-best option on offense, and they would like to preserve him as much as possible while still gaining a lot of production in special teams. Both Wright and Robinson were kick returners in college, and they were both very good at it as well.
All three have incredible speed, and are great at taking hits and delivering them as well. This should be a very interesting battle because the Vikings need all the yards they can to help them get into prime scoring position. Better yet, they need someone who can change the game like Devin Hester.
Don't expect Harvin to be the starting kick returner next year, because both Wright and Robinson will make the team and produce just as well as Harvin did for the Vikings in his first three seasons.
Sammy Sucu is a Featured Columnist for the WWE and the Minnesota Vikings. Sammy also writes for the NFL, fantasy football and the Los Angeles Lakers. You can follow him on Twitter and follow all of his coverage during WWE events and Viking games for live updates and analysis.