The Vikings’ Wide Receiver Issues Are Still a Long Way From Settled

Jul 26, 2012; Bourbonnais, IL, USA; Chicago Bears wide receiver Chris Summers walks to the practice field during the opening day of training camp on the campus of Olivet Nazarene University. Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

How confident are the Vikings that they can find a reasonably good deep threat from among the quintet of Michael Jenkins, Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton, Manny Arceneaux and Jarius Wright? Evidently not very. That would explain why on Thursday they brought in former Chicago Bear wide-out Chris Summers for a workout.

The 6-foot-5 Summers was signed by the Bears as a UFA shortly after the draft but let go on Sunday (because for the first time in memory the Bears are actually pretty well stocked-up at receiver). In two games before being cut, Summers had three catches including two that went for more than 20 yards. That would qualify him as a potential big-play receiver at least by the Vikings’ standards. He certainly did put up nice stats in college, averaging 14.4 YPC in four years at Liberty on 188 career receptions with 26 TDs.

Coincidentally, in 2010 Summers broke the Big South Conference record for receiving yards previously held by…Jerome Simpson. It just so happens that Simpson is the guy the Vikes are trying to replace for the first three games of the season while he sits with a suspension. Clearly, Leslie Frazier and company are not thrilled with what their current crop of receivers brings to the table as potential field-stretching split-ends. Jenkins we know has no explosion anymore, Aromashodu hasn’t shown good hands this preseason (or frankly ever), Burton is raw, Arceneaux is even more raw and Jarius Wright…well, Jarius Wright hasn’t done squat since being drafted.

Those guys have been disappointing, but the truly big blow to the Vikings’ plans was the loss of Greg Childs who tore tendons in both knees during a training camp practice and may never play again. It’s obvious now that the Vikings had high hopes for Childs, who was a rising star at Arkansas before his first major knee injury, which sent him sliding all the way to the 4th round. With Childs out of the picture, the Vikes are casting around for someone else to try as a tall, athletic guy who can go up and get it. You know, a Sidney Rice type. That’s what they thought Childs could be before he hurt himself, and now they’re stuck with a bunch of stiffs behind the acrobatic Simpson.

Maybe the last preseason game will see one of these stiffs step up. The Vikes are surely hoping that’s the case. It could be a rough three games before Simpson comes back. Not that there’s any guarantee Simpson will do the job either. He looks promising, but there’s a reason he didn’t stick in Cincinnati. It’s all still a pretty big mess and may remain a mess for the rest of the season.

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Topics: Chris Summers, Minnesota Vikings

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