Aug 7, 2012 at 7:37 am
MANKATO, MN (AP) – Greg Childs came to the Minnesota Vikings with draft-bargain promise, bringing a prototypical wide receiver's body with the speed to be a deep-route threat despite dropping to the end of the fourth round because of an injury-affected senior year at Arkansas.
Childs' fledgling NFL career took a devastating hit when he tried to jump to catch a pass in an intra-squad scrimmage on Saturday night and ruptured his patellar tendon — in both knees. Childs went for surgery on Monday. There's no timetable for his return.
"He's got a tough road ahead of him, no question about it," Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "I mean, you're talking about both knees."
The patellar tendon runs down from the kneecap to the shin bone.
"We are all hoping for the best," Frazier said.
Vikings athletic trainer Eric Sugarman could only recall former Chicago wide receiver Wendell Davis as a player who previously suffered these freak simultaneous patellar tendon tears, in 1993 on that infamously unforgiving artificial turf at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium.
Frazier spoke optimistically about medical advances that should give Childs a better chance to recover two decades later, but Davis never played again after his comeback attempt failed.
Childs was distraught, according to Frazier, but also determined to resume his career.
"He is going to work extremely hard and get back to playing again. That was his attitude, and those were the words he shared with me: 'Coach, I'll be back. I'm going to do it just like I did before. I'm going to work as hard as I can. I'll be back out here to help the Vikings,'" Frazier said. "That is a great attitude under the circumstances."
Another factor working against Childs is that he tore the patellar tendon in his right knee less than two years ago, an injury that essentially allowed the Vikings to get him where they did in the draft.
Childs was fast becoming one of the best college receivers in the country until he was hurt a little more than halfway through his junior season in 2010. He wasn't the same as a senior last year, limping noticeably during Arkansas' first preseason practice and struggling to hang onto the ball.
Childs finished with only 16 catches and 192 yards in 2011 while Jarius Wright, his friend since childhood who was also drafted this year by the Vikings, became the go-to Razorbacks receiver.
Wright declined to comment on Monday. Childs, on Twitter, thanked his followers, fans, friends and family for praying for him and said, "I will be fine."
The Vikings placed Childs on injury waivers, a procedural move that must come before they can put him on injured reserve.
With Jerome Simpson suspended for the first three games of the regular season, the Vikings have again found themselves thin at this important position.
They still have standout Percy Harvin, of course, and veteran Michael Jenkins is around, but he's more in the possession-receiver mold. Wright is more of a Harvin-style player in the slot. Devin Aromashodu is the most obvious option on the roster to fill in for Simpson while he's out, but Childs would've been a welcomed bonus for this offense had he been healthy. Stephen Burton, a seventh-round draft pick last year, has become a stronger candidate to make the team.
"We still think we have some options on our current roster without having to just bring a guy in for the sake of bringing a guy in," Frazier said.
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