Page 2 of 2 Previous

Continued: Receivers coach still sorting things out

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER , Star Tribune
  • Last update: August 9, 2012 - 7:46 AM

 

George Stewart can only laugh. He knows the uncertainty he's feeling and the challenge ahead.

As receivers coach for the Vikings, Stewart is working with 11 pass catchers who all offer intriguing skill sets. Yet now, exactly a month before the Vikings open the regular season, Stewart knows his detailed evaluations will help determine who stays and who goes.

The only certainty?

"I do know Percy Harvin will be on the field for us. And I know, after Week 3, Jerome Simpson will be on the field," Stewart said. "Beyond that, it's too early to say exactly who else is going to be where."

Simpson will miss the first three games of the regular season because of an NFL suspension. Even worse, the Vikings have lost rookie Greg Childs for the year because of patellar tendon tears in both knees.

So just how will the Vikings settle on the quintet of receivers they want to keep for the long haul? Behind Harvin and Simpson, we asked Stewart to shed light on the ongoing evaluations.

It will be hard for the Vikings to keep both Michael Jenkins and Devin Aromashodu. More probable: One stays, one goes.

What's the story? With Childs down, the window for Aromashodu opens. In spurts, he flashes eye-catching athleticism. He's 6-2. He's quick. He has long arms. He contributes on special teams. And the Vikings re-signed him to a one-year deal in part because of the glowing endorsement from Stewart. Still, for all his promise, the 28-year-old Aromashodu has only 67 career catches for 1,011 yards with five touchdowns. Stewart said he won't measure Aromashodu's success based on statistics alone. After all, Harvin, Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph will demand the ball much more often.

What Stewart said: "Devin is still ascending. I see him making vast improvements week after week ... We've talked to him about making those great moment-of-truth plays down the field. What those are is that ball is in the air, the fans are out of their seats, 'Is he going to catch it? Is he not?' It's the moment of truth. Can Devin go snag it? He has done a great job in training camp of making those catches. Now that needs to continue in games."

• • •

Jenkins' age, cost and health might be deterrents as the Vikings make final evaluations.

What's the story? Jenkins is the wild card. He's 30, spent the last five weeks of 2011 on injured reserve because of a torn meniscus and will be owed $2.5 million if he's still on the roster opening day. Yet there might be a slight risk in getting rid of him. Keep in mind, it's imperative second-year quarterback Christian Ponder builds confidence early this season. And with Simpson out those first three games, Jenkins would provide veteran stability and a familiar target. Ponder and Jenkins connected 16 times for 268 yards and a touchdown in six games last season. That said, Jenkins looked slow during stretches of camp. He's either not fully recovered from knee surgery or age is simply catching up.

What Stewart said: "Father Time takes care of all of us. If Jenk could still run the way he did when he was 22, he'd be cheating Father Time. So with Michael, if he has his lapses, OK. But if we can get him to look like the old Michael one day a week, on Sunday, we're in business."

• • •

Keep an eye on Stephen Burton, whom the Vikings drafted in the seventh round in 2011 out of West Texas A&M.

What's the story? There's a belief inside the organization that Burton is rising quickly, now past the wide-eyed phase that came with being a rookie making a transition from Division II to the NFL. Stewart has peppered Burton with reminders to become a complete receiver, asserting that success in this league isn't only about making catches. Attention to detail as a blocker is vital.

What Stewart said: "His maturity and his football knowledge are much improved. Coming out of college, Stevie wasn't a great run blocker or a great finisher. He's now starting to finish. He's finishing [blocks] on the back side of runs. And if our backside receiver catches a pass, he's now downfield blocking. A year ago, he wasn't doing that. If his potential is realized, Stephen's a great fit. But potential is one thing. Showing you can do those good things repetitively is what we need to see."

The super sleeper in this year's receiving battle might be Manny Arceneaux.

What's the story? Once a star in the CFL, Arceneaux spent 13 weeks last season on the practice squad before getting a late promotion. His lone NFL catch was a 10-yarder in Week 15. Arceneaux is blessed with elite speed. Stewart also commends his savvy, decisiveness and route running.

What Stewart said: "He is the most improved player from one year to the next that I've had in 25 years coaching at the NFL level. Every team has to have a blue-collar player. That's his ticket. ... Hockey has those enforcer-type guys. That's what Emmanuel is. But don't let me lead you into thinking he's just a goon. He's got that skill set to be a weapon for us, too."

• • •

Rookie Jarius Wright's spot on the roster is probably safe, but he needs to show more.

What's the story? Wright's camp has been ordinary, and the Vikings have a couple of receivers in Kerry Taylor and Bryan Walters who share similar strengths as versatile receivers with special teams value. Wright will compete with Josh Robinson and Marcus Sherels for the punt returner job. He'll also be asked to be a utility receiver. The Vikings coaches like his understanding of space and his hunger to learn. Stewart calls him "a football junkie." Yet Wright has been slow to break through.

What Stewart said: "I know they had a pro-style offense at Arkansas, but they didn't play against pro-style athletes all the time. Great talent in the SEC. But now he's seeing pro talent at every position for the first time. And it's been a big transition for him."

  • VIKINGS

    First exhibition: 8 p.m. Friday at

    San Francisco • TV: Ch. 23 (100.3-FM)

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Buffalo 12/28/14 12:00 PM
New England
Cleveland 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Dallas 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Washington
Indianapolis 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
Jacksonville 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Houston
San Diego 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
NY Jets 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Chicago 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Minnesota
Philadelphia 12/28/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
New Orleans 12/28/14 12:00 PM
Tampa Bay
Carolina 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Green Bay
Oakland 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Denver
Arizona 12/28/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
St. Louis 12/28/14 3:25 PM
Seattle
Cincinnati 12/28/14 7:30 PM
Pittsburgh
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
TBA 1/3/15 2:00 AM
TBA
Toronto 110 FINAL
LA Clippers 98
Boston 63 4th Qtr 12:00
Washington 80
Orlando 81 4th Qtr
Charlotte 68
Memphis 57 3rd Qtr
Miami 41
Indiana 27 2nd Qtr 9:17
Brooklyn 26
New Orleans 29 2nd Qtr 8:41
Chicago 30
Atlanta 4 1st Qtr 10:38
Milwaukee 0
Philadelphia 8:00 PM
Utah
New York 9:00 PM
Sacramento
Minnesota 9:30 PM
Golden State
NY Islanders 3 3rd Prd
Buffalo 0
Detroit 1 3rd Prd
Ottawa 2
Carolina 0 3rd Prd
Tampa Bay 1
New Jersey 1 3rd Prd
NY Rangers 2
Boston 2 2nd Prd :52
Columbus 5
Winnipeg 1 2nd Prd 2:45
Minnesota 1
Washington 1 2nd Prd 12:48
Pittsburgh 0
Dallas 2 1st Prd 1:43
St. Louis 2
Philadelphia 0 2nd Prd
Nashville 1
Anaheim 1 2nd Prd
Arizona 1
Chicago 8:00 PM
Colorado
Edmonton 9:00 PM
Calgary
San Jose 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Indiana 87 FINAL
Georgetown 91
Maine 43 FINAL
Seton Hall 72
UNC-Wilmington 82 FINAL
Minnesota 108
Georgia State 61 FINAL
Green Bay 78
Jacksonville St 61 FINAL
Jacksonville 75
Kentucky 58 FINAL
Louisville 50
Northern Ky 55 FINAL
Northwestern 76
UAB 58 FINAL
North Carolina 89
IUPUI 55 FINAL
Pepperdine 53
Santa Clara 60 FINAL
St Marys-CA 73
Oakland 56 FINAL
Maryland 72
Gonzaga 87 FINAL
BYU 80
Mercer 75 3rd OT 0:42
Georgia 84
San Francisco 77 FINAL
Pacific 71
Wright State 47 2nd Half 4:02
Ohio State 93
Presbyterian 49 2nd Half 10:00
Virginia Tech 62
Brescia 16 1st Half 3:40
Western Ky 31
Tennessee St 8 1st Half 13:35
Tennessee 9
Kennesaw St 8:00 PM
Illinois
Colorado State 8:00 PM
New Mexico St
Portland 8:00 PM
San Diego
Wayland Baptist 8:05 PM
Utah State
Bristol University 8:05 PM
Weber State
Sacramento St 8:05 PM
Utah Valley U
Southern Utah 9:00 PM
UNLV
SD Christian 9:00 PM
San Diego St
Illinois 18 FINAL
Louisiana Tech 35
Rutgers 40 FINAL
North Carolina 21
NC State 34 FINAL
UCF 27
Cincinnati 17 FINAL
Virginia Tech 33
(15) Arizona State 36 FINAL
Duke 31
Miami-Florida 21 FINAL
So Carolina 24
Boston College 30 FINAL
Penn State 31
(25) Nebraska 10 1st Qtr 7:45
(24) USC 7
Texas A&M 12/29/14 1:00 PM
West Virginia
Oklahoma 12/29/14 4:30 PM
(18) Clemson
Arkansas 12/29/14 8:00 PM
Texas
Notre Dame 12/30/14 2:00 PM
(22) LSU
(13) Georgia 12/30/14 5:45 PM
(20) Louisville
Maryland 12/30/14 9:00 PM
Stanford
(9) Ole Miss 12/31/14 11:30 AM
(6) TCU
(21) Boise State 12/31/14 3:00 PM
(12) Arizona
(8) Miss State 12/31/14 7:00 PM
(10) Georgia Tech
(19) Auburn 1/1/15 11:00 AM
(17) Wisconsin
(7) Michigan State 1/1/15 11:30 AM
(4) Baylor
(16) Missouri 1/1/15 12:00 PM
Minnesota
(2) Florida State 1/1/15 4:00 PM
(3) Oregon
(5) Ohio State 1/1/15 7:30 PM
(1) Alabama
Houston 1/2/15 11:00 AM
Pittsburgh
Iowa 1/2/15 2:20 PM
Tennessee
(11) Kansas State 1/2/15 5:45 PM
(14) UCLA
Washington 1/2/15 9:15 PM
Oklahoma State
East Carolina 1/3/15 11:00 AM
Florida
SMU 45 FINAL
(2) Connecticut 96
UCF 64 FINAL
Houston 50
BYU 62 FINAL
Gonzaga 78
Pacific 92 FINAL
San Francisco 54
St Marys-CA 62 FINAL
Santa Clara 61
San Diego 28 1st Half 3:49
Portland 18
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago Noon

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Grade the Vikings offense

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close