With all of the hoopla surrounding QB Brett Favre and his decision to return for another season in 2010, it’s easy to forget there is actually a training camp and preseason going on at Winter Park. And with training camp and preseason come position battles.
There are several position battles still on-going for the Vikings, and that will continue to be the case for the next couple weeks. Of course the highest-profile position battle will be for the backup QB job, which Tarvaris Jackson is currently leading. But another one that also got a bit more interesting over the last couple of days is WR.
The Vikings have a healthy crop of young receivers battling to round out the position. That group included 3rd-year player Jaymar Johnson, who had a good training camp and then registered 2 receptions for 38 yards against the St. Louis Rams last weekend in the team’s 1st preseason game. But Johnson also suffered an injury in that game and has been waived by the club.
It’s an unfortunate development for Johnson and the Vikings, but it also opens an opportunity for those who were battling with Johnson for a roster spot. One player to keep an eye on in this regard is former University of Minnesota Golden Gopher Logan Payne, who was acquired by the Vikings this past offseason and also had a nice training camp.
Payne showed up in a big way against the Rams, hauling in 7 receptions for 52 yards, including a 2-yard TD from Sage Rosenfels in the 2nd quarter.
“He is a good, smart football player,” Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress said of Payne on Monday. “He is a tough guy, did well in special teams (against St. Louis), he ran down and made a couple special team tackles. He is versed in this system, he played multiple positions and he was productive. He has been making the most of all of the reps that he has gotten.”
Payne isn’t the only WR who has a chance to step up. The Vikings have a host of others in the fold, including Marko Mitchell (72-yard TD reception against the Rams) and Ray Small (3 receptions for 31 yards against the Rams). Another factor to keep in mind in handicapping this position battle is the return game. While Payne can increase his stock by covering kicks, a guy like Small can increase his chances by standing out as a kickoff or punt returner. Johnson had 2 punt returns and 1 kickoff return against the Rams, so someone else on the WR depth chart might be able to assume those responsibilities.
With all of that said, the Vikings could also look to add another young receiver or veteran receiver to the mix as well. There are several more chapters left to unfold before the Vikings make any decisions on this position battle, and the next one will happen on Sunday night when the Purple takes the field against the San Francisco 49ers.
Let us know in the comments section below which of the Vikings receivers you’d like to see step up and earn a roster spot.
Tags: Jaymar Johnson, Logan Payne, Marko Mitchell, Ray Small
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 18 Comments »