Vikings’ Childs suffers knee injury

The news wasn’t good for the Minnesota Vikings and injured rookie receiver Greg Childs, after Childs was injured on the second-to-last play of Saturday night’s training camp scrimmage in Mankato, Minn.

Minnesota announced on Sunday that Childs has suffered torn patellar tendons in both knees and will have surgery in the next few days. Childs, who also suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in college at Arkansas, will surely miss the rest of the season after landing awkwardly while going up for a pass in Saturday’s scrimmage.

The Vikings later waived Childs as injured, which is normal protocol. As a rookie, Childs must clear injury waivers befor going on injured reserve. Another team may claim Childs, but that is unlikely.

To take his place on the roster, Minnesota re-signed wide receiver A.J. Love. The rookie out of South Florida had been waived this past weekend.

Childs, drafted out of Arkansas in the fourth round of April’s draft, was untouched as he landed, but screamed in pain as he touched earth and immediately fell to the ground. The receiver was attended to by the team’s medical staff and was carted off the field inside Blakeslee Stadium at Minnesota State University.

Coach Leslie Frazier was still waiting to hear word on Childs’ injury when meeting with reporters after the scrimmage, but a magnetic resonance imaging result showed the worst for Childs.

“You hate to see any player go down for any reason,” Frazier said told reporters after the scrimmage. “And Greg has struggled with injuries, as we all know, as he was coming out of college. Hopefully things will work out and it’s nothing serious.”

The 6-foot-3 Childs was considered one of the top emerging receivers in the country while at Arkansas, using his size and speed to record 48 catches for 894 yards and seven touchdowns in 13 games as a sophomore and catching 46 passes for 659 yards and six touchdowns in eight games as a junior.

But Childs suffered a torn patellar tendon in his right knee and missed the end of his junior season. He returned for his senior campaign and played in 11 games, but was never the same and had just 21 catches for 240 yards.

Minnesota knew Childs was an injury risk in the draft, but the Vikings felt he was finally over the injury and believed he could regain the ability he showed as a sophomore and made him the final of three fourth-round draft picks in April. He was slowed during minicamp with a calf injury and was healthy for the start of training camp.

In practice this week, he had perhaps the highlight of training camp so far this season when he reached around a defender for a touchdown reception in team drills, securing the ball against the defender’s back as the two hit the ground.

“That was a nice play,” Frazier said of Childs’ catch in practice. “We saw him do that in college as well. That was a nice play, great concentration. That’s what we need. We need a guy to make that hard catch for us even when they’re covered. So, it’s good to see.”

But it will be up to someone else to fill that role for Minnesota. Childs’ season is over and it could be some time before he is able to return, if ever.

The patellar tendon attaches the kneecap to the top of the tibia, the bone in the lower leg. Two players in recent history have suffered tears to both patellar tendons and tried to return to the NFL.

Cleveland Browns defensive back Gary Baxter suffered the teams in a game in 2006 and tried to return for the 2007 season, but he never played another game in the NFL. The same was true for Chicago Bears receiver Wendell Davis in 1994.

Childs’ injury adds to the uncertainty at receiver for the Vikings. Percy Harvin and Jerome Simpson have been working with the first-team in training camp and veteran Michael Jenkins has worked as the third receiver, finally showing he is healthy after a slow return from knee surgery last season. Simpson is suspended for the first three games of the season.

Devin Aromashodu, Stephen Burton, Kerry Taylor, Emmanuel Arceneaux, Bryan Walters, Kamar Jorden and rookie Jarius Wright, who was a college and high school teammate of Childs, are also on the roster and have been moved up and down the depth chart during training camp. Aromashodu has the experience, starting games last year for Minnesota. Burton was a 2011 draft pick that has opened eyes during the offseason. Wright is likely to stick on the roster as a fourth-round draft pick this season. Arceneaux and Taylor have been very active and visible in training camp. Wright, Walters and Taylor are also in the mix as returners.

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