On Wednesday we discussed the possibility of Greg Camarillo’s role with the team increasing, in part because of the Vikings decision to release WR Bernard Berrian. But Berrian’s release presents another Vikings WR with a big opportunity, too.
Rookie Stephen Burton, who was selected by the Vikings in last April’s draft with a 7th-round pick (#236 overall) out of Division II West Texas A&M, was promoted from the practice squad to fill Berrian’s vacant spot on the active roster. Burton is now the 9th of 10 Vikings draft picks from last April to make the active roster.
As Dan Wiederer of the Star Tribune pointed out, Burton’s promotion to the active roster comes roughly 6 months after he received a call from the Vikings notifying him that he’s been drafted.
“That draft call was incredible,” Burton told Wiederer. “Because of the lockout, if you went undrafted, it would have been months of not knowing if you’d get an opportunity. So for me, that was such a highlight. But when I got the message Tuesday about getting called up, that was a great feeling in a different way. My first thought was, ‘This is awesome.’ After all the hard work, I’m finally getting an opportunity.”
Burton stands at 6-1, 221 pounds and is a developmental prospect at the WR position. But with rookie Christian Ponder now the starting QB, the team’s record at 1-6 with the midpoint of the season around the corner and, perhaps most importantly, one of the best WR coaches in the business on staff in George Stewart, now is a great time to give a player such as Burton a chance to prove himself.
Promotion to the active roster doesn’t necessarily mean a player will be active for a game. The active roster contains 53 players, but teams are permitted to dress 46 of them on game day. So Burton could be inactive on Sundays, or his ability to impress coaches could meet a sudden need at the position, which might result in him suiting up in a game.
Increasing Burton’s chances of seeing the field on Sundays this season is his ability to perform on special teams. Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier said on Wednesday that Burton has kickoff return capabilities, and if Burton can also display skill in kick coverage, his chances of playing will only increase.
“He’s a guy who has really grown from the time we got him to the point where we’ve been commenting about him over the last two or three weeks,” Frazier said. “He had some hamstring issues when we were in Mankato so he missed some time and we really couldn’t get a feel for where he was but once he got that injury behind him you could see the promise that he has. We’re excited to see how he performs now that he has this chance.”
Tags: George Stewart, Greg Camarillo, Leslie Frazier, Stephen Burton
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