The Vikings acquired Greg Camarillo from the Miami Dolphins roughly two weeks prior to the start of the 2010 regular season. Camarillo’s primary contribution last season was as the team’s punt returner, where he fielded 39 returns without a single fumble. He’s been an occasional contributor in the Vikings passing game, collecting 20 receptions in 2010 and 3 more so far this year.
Camarillo’s role diminished some early this season. He was active in Week 1 but inactive for the next 3 games, largely because Marcus Sherels has handled punt return duties this season. But here have been three developments with the Vikings recently that have caused me to wonder if Camarillo will have a more prominent role with the team going forward.
First, the Vikings are now down a receiver with the release of Bernard Berrian. With Berrian now out of the mix, Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins become the primary receivers with Devin Aromashodu as the third option. That elevates Camarillo into the regular WR rotation and likely ensures that he’ll be active on a weekly basis.
Secondly, rookie Christian Ponder is now the starting QB and I believe Camarillo’s craftiness and 6 seasons of experience make him a natural safety blanket for a young QB. Case and point is last week’s game against the Packers, where Camarillo consistently wiggled open after Ponder bought time in and out of the pocket. Both of Camarillo’s receptions last week came on 3rd and long plays, where Ponder needed a bailout reception.
“There were a couple times when a route was called and things break down a little bit and Christian runs around and he (Camarillo) ends up uncovering, and part of it is due to his experience and just his wherewithal and his understanding of coverages,” Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said. “It’s something a veteran receiver would do and he ended up making some big plays for us.”
Lastly, Camarillo could be called upon once again to contribute as a punt returner. Don’t get me wrong, Sherels has done a fine job as a returner. His 12.8-yard average per return is 6th best in the NFL right now. Where Camarillo would help the Vikings as a punt returner is when the opponent is trying to land a punt inside the 20. Sherels has made a few errors in this area of the field by either fielding a punt too close to the end zone or letting a punt hit the ground and be downed by the opposing team deep in Vikings territory. With Camarillo’s sure-handedness and experience in the punt return game, I think he’s less likely to make these errors and therefore could be implemented as a “pinch hitting” punt returner at the appropriate time.
All of this combined with something Frazier said about Camarillo (quote is below) on Monday leads me to the opinion that Camarillo should become more involved in the Vikings game play on a weekly basis. We’ll see if it happens beginning this week in Carolina and then coming out of next week’s bye. I’ll leave you with a complimentary statement from the Vikings Head Coach on Camarillo.
“When you get to know Greg, he is one of those guys that are a true professional,” Frazier said. “He comes prepared everyday to work. He is very studious when it comes to what he has to get done in the classroom and preparation before practices. He works extremely hard and he is the same way when it comes to preparing for games on Sundays. You go to bed on Saturday night thinking you may not be active and then all of a sudden you are active and he doesn’t miss a beat. He goes out and plays an excellent game for us. He is where he is supposed to be, he makes a lot of great catches. That’s who Greg Camarillo is; he’s a pro in every sense of the word.”
Tags: Christian Ponder, Greg Camarillo, Leslie Frazier, Marcus Sherels
Posted in All | 82 Comments »