MANKATO -- The odds are stacked heavily against rookie receiver Greg Childs ever playing a down in the NFL.
"Just in talking with Eric Sugarman, our head [athletic] trainer, and his staff, they only know of only one other case before this when a player ruptured both patellar tendons on the same play," Vikings coach Les Frazier said Monday, two days after Childs went down and out for the season on the second-to-last play of Saturday night's scrimmage. "That was Wendell Davis a number of years ago."
Davis, a Bears receiver drafted in the first round out of LSU in 1988, got both legs caught in the Astroturf at Philadelphia's Veterans Stadium in 1993. Davis had led the Bears in receiving the previous three years with 154 catches for 2,251 yards and 11 touchdowns. But he never played another down in the NFL.
After spending the 1994 season trying to build his knees back to an NFL level, Davis made a brief, but failed comeback attempt with the Colts in training camp in 1995.
"Things are different today, time-wise, so we're hoping it won't take as long as it took Wendell to get back on the field," Frazier said. "But it's hard to say at this point."
Childs is having his surgeries today. If nothing else, his attitude appears to be determined and upbeat heading into a long rehabilitation. According to Frazier, Childs vowed to work just as hard to return this time as he did after tearing his right patellar tendon as a junior at Arkansas. Childs returned for his senior season, although the injury slowed his productivity.
"He was distraught, as you would expect," Frazier said of his conversation with Childs. "It's hard. But he really had a frame of mind ... where he really feels he's going to be able to bounce back from this. That was his attitude and the words that he shared with me. `Coach, I'll be back. I'll do just like I did before. ... I'll be back to help the Vikings. Great attitude under the circumstances. Great attitude."
The Vikings placed Childs on injured reserve and re-signed undrafted rookie free agent receiver A.J. Love. Love had been released on Saturday to make room for the signing of rookie offensive lineman Bridger Buche.
"We'll definitely be scouring the waiver wire to see what's out there," Frazier said of the team's interest in other receivers. "Not to say we're going to do anything, but we're definitely going to be looking."
Burton looks more comfortable
Few players had a rougher time in training camp a year ago than receiver Stephen Burton, who was a rookie seventh-round draft pick out of Division II West Texas A&M at the time.
For starters, Burton is catching the ball more consistently this summer. A year ago, he consistently dropped passes and also had the most bizarre play of camp, going up for a Hail Mary pass into the end zone and inexplicably swatting it away.
With Childs out for the season, Burton has a greater opportunity to make the team, as does Devin Aromashodu, Bryan Walters and Michael Jenkins.
Asked if he thinks he's catching the ball better this year, he said, "Most definitely. It's a comfortability factor and being relaxed."
Walsh has to slowww down
Like most rookie kickers, Blair Walsh's enemy is adrenaline.
"We're constantly telling him to slow down," special teams coach Mike Prieffer said. "When we're off to the side working by ourselves, he's really slowed it down. It's just when he gets with the team and people are watching and you guys [reporters] are writing about every kick he makes, he's fired up and might go a little fast."
The Vikings believe Walsh's struggles at Georgia a year ago -- he went 21 for 35 on field goal attempts -- were the result of a tempo that was too fast.
Prieffer praised Walsh's consistency in practice so far. He added that even Walsh's misses have been well struck.
Sherels clinging to No. 1 punt returner job
Although Marcus Sherels' spot on the final roster is in jeopardy, Prieffer said he's still the team's No. 1 punt returner at this point. Prieffer also will use rookie Jarius Wright, receiver Bryan Walters and possibly rookie cornerback Josh Robinson in Friday's preseason opener at San Francisco. Robinson is in the early stages of returning from a hamstring injury.
As for kickoff returner, Prieffer said No. 1 returner Percy Harvin has earned the right not to have to return kicks in a preseason opener. Sherels, Wright, Walters, Robinson and possibly Stephen Burton will return kicks on Friday night.
Brinkley has no doubts
It's been a year since middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley has seen live action. He tried to play through a hip injury early on in last year's preseason, but ended up having season-ending hip surgery.
"I'm kind of like a kid at a birthday party," Brinkley said when asked about Friday night's game. "Just blessed to continue going out and play."
Have any doubts about the health of that hip?
"Oh, no," he said. "I never did and I never will."
Allen taps out
Defensive end Jared Allen hates preseason games as much as he loves regular season games.
Asked after Monday's practice if he was looking forward to the first preseason game on Friday night, Allen smiled and said, "I'm just trying to get a day off. I'm hoping and I'm trying to talk to coach Frazier. I do not want to play on Friday. So please do not make me play this preseason game. ... They gave me the first [preseason] game off last year, so I got to keep that thing going."
- Frazier said he got a text from Eagles coach Andy Reid this morning. Reid's oldest son, Garrett, 29, was found dead in his dorm room at Eagles camp over the weekend. "Garrett was a great kid," said Frazier, a former Eagles assistant under Reid. "I got to know him as a little boy, growing up around our team and our facilty. Just a hard thing to experience." General Manager Rick Spielman will attend the funeral on Tuesday.
- Frazier said running back Toby Gerhart will be "limited for sure" on Friday night. "Toby doesn't seem like a guy who is ready to settle for being a backup running back, which is a good thing," Frazier said. "He's preparing himself as if he's going to start against Jacksonville [in the season opener]. He's practcing the right way. Frazier said he'll take a look at all the healthy running backs and also has plans to try and get some carries for fullbacks Matt Asiata and Ryan D'Imperio.
- Frazier said right guard Geoff Schwartz will have his sports hernia surgery on Tuesday and could be out anywhere from four to 10 weeks. He also said that doesn't necessarily mean the right guard job has been won by Brandon Fusco. "We're not quite ready to say Brandon is the guy to start against Jacksonville," Frazier said. "We want to see him in some game situations against other teams." Chris DeGeare and Joe Berger will get looks at right guard as well.
- Jerome Simpson was limited in team drills in the afternoon practice.