Training Camp Preview: Wide Receivers and Tight Ends


The Vikings receiver corps may have a new addition soon, if the rumors are to be believed.  According to Judd Zulgad of Access Vikings, the pass-catcher thought to be on on the Purple’s radar is Kelley Washington, who caught 34 balls for 431 yards last year with Baltimore.

Washington, if the Vikes do sign him, would immediately shoot to #4 on the depth chart behind Sidney Rice, Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian.

Let’s briefly address those top 3 guys and where they stand going into camp.

Sidney Rice:  Has battled a hip injury all off-season, but thinks he will be ready when camp opens.  There was a momentary rumor of a groin injury, and possibly surgery, but those were both shot down.

Percy Harvin:  Still hasn’t found a solution to his migraine problem.

Bernard Berrian:  Has spent the off-season upping his celebrity profile by appearing with Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco on a bad VH1 reality show.  Also tweets a lot.

Those three guy give the Vikes as good a top 3 as anyone in the league.  Each brings something different to the table, and they seem to complement each other very well.  Brett Favre turned Sidney into a Top 10 receiving threat last season, and Percy Harvin, with his speed and toughness and tackle-breaking ability, will only become more dangerous as the year goes on.  Berrian never provided the downfield threat we expected last season – mostly because Rice was the one getting all the deep throws from Favre – but with his wheels he will always be dangerous.

An array of players will compete for the remaining receiver spots.  ESPY-winner Greg Lewis seems to have a leg-up on the #4 position, pending the possible signing of Washington.  Lewis did make that one legendary catch last season, and he is one of Brad Childress‘ guys from the Eagles days.

Darius Reynaud, though still listed as a running back on the official roster, will likely resume his receiver/punt returner duties once camp starts.  The Vikes don’t figure to need him as a back after the signing of Ryan Moats.

Pretty much every other receiver currently listed on the roster is looking down the barrel of a cut or a trip to the practice squad if Kelley Washington indeed signs.  Jaymar Johnson would seem to have the best chance of sticking, given that he actually played last year, catching 1 ball for 9 yards.

The rest of these guys – Taye Biddle, Marquis Hamilton, Marko Mitchell, Logan Payne and Ray Small – are mostly competing for practice squad jobs.  Though I’m sure at least one of them will make a couple nice catches in camp and suddenly become a Hank Baskett-like phenom.

Tight Ends:

Visanthe Shiancoe seems to have put the Twitter war with Darren Sharper on hold for the time being. Jim Kleinsasser is entering his 12th training camp with the Vikings. Is this the year Garrett Mills wins some playing time? Don’t bet on it.

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