Vikings Sign WR Walker, Waive RB Moats

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 24, 2010 – 10:04 am

With Sidney Rice sideline because of a hip injury and Percy Harvin having missed extended time during training camp and the preseason, the Vikings WR position has gone from one of the deeper spots on the team to a position in need of some depth for the time being.

To address that situation, the Vikings have signed WR Javon Walker, a 9-year veteran who’s been with the Green Bay Packers (2002-2005), Denver Broncos (2006-2007) and Oakland Raiders (2008-2009). With the Vikings, Walker is re-united with QB Brett Favre. The tandem was successful in Green Bay, hooking up for TDs 20 times.

Walker has played in 83 career games, including 46 starts, over the last 8 seasons and he was originally selected by the Green Bay Packers in the 1st round (#20) of the 2002 NFL Draft. He earned a Pro Bowl berth following the 2004 season, a campaign in which he had 89 receptions for 1,382 yards (15.5 avg.) and 12 TDs.

For his career, Walker has 267 receptions for 4,011 yards and 31 TDs.

To make room for Walker, the Vikings waived RB Ryan Moats.

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“Vanilla” Will Be The Preseason Buzz Word

Posted by Mike Wobschall on August 11, 2010 – 4:13 pm

We hear it every year about this time; it’s the word “vanilla” and it’s used to describe the types of schemes NFL teams use in the preseason. Rather than spending several days preparing a detailed game plan filled with complex ideas and adjustments, teams typically strip the playbook down to basics in the preseason.

One reason for this is teams don’t want to give away any tendencies or secrets in exhibition games; they want to save that for the season. But another side-effect of the vanilla strategy is that it allows coaches and scouts to evaluate their players more effectively.

“We are going to intentionally make it as vanilla as it can be because you can say what you want, but guys that may be playing for the first time in the NFL, [they] are going to be excitable,” Childress explained to reporters after Wednesday afternoon’s practice. “So, hopefully there’s not a ton of thinking involved.

“Now, do they have to make checks? Do they have to convert routes? Yeah, they have to do that in our offense. Vanilla, and then with a premium on guys playing fast, so you don’t see a lot of thinking and gears grinding. They can just play football and if they’re making a mistake they’re making a full speed mistake but you can see their football prowess.”

The Vikings will practice 2 more times in Mankato and they’ll likely have a walk-through on Friday morning as they prepare for the 1st preseason game against the St. Louis Rams, which will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. CT on Saturday evening in St. Louis. Wednesday afternoon’s practice was held inside Blakeslee Stadium and it was steamy, with temperatures and humidity at high levels.

Here are a few other notes from Childress’ meeting with reporters…

Childress on WR Logan Payne: “He’s getting more than maybe he expected, for a guy that we signed late in the process. He made a roster, then got knocked off that roster because they had another need. But yeah he’s benefited by his turns and he’s shown that he can make plays when called to.”

Childress said QB Tarvaris Jackson will play with the 1st-team offense on Saturday evening and that he and the 1st team offense will leave the game “pretty quick.”

Childress was asked about WR Percy Harvin, who has yet to return to the team after his Grandmother passed away and after Childress said his migraines have resurfaced. Asked if he’s communicated with the 2009 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, Childress said that he did on Wednesday morning and that there is no timetable for his return.

“I will say this,” Childress said, “just as you guys saw him in our very first minicamp (in 2009), he has an A football IQ, he did a bunch of those things at Florida, so it wasn’t completely foreign to him and every game plan that we have we have plays that may be his where he’s touching the football. So it’s not as if they’re not going to be re-installed. I’m happy he’s been around the block one time so he knows some of the types of things that we’re trying to do.”

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Vikings Sign RB Ryan Moats

Posted by Mike Wobschall on June 15, 2010 – 9:42 am

The Vikings have bolstered their RB stable by signing free agent Ryan Moats, a 6th-year player out of Louisiana Tech who was recently released by the Houston Texans. Moats adds a veteran presence to a position group that includes Toby Gerhart, Ian Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Darius Reynaud and Albert Young.

“I watched them last year get so close to achieving the ultimate goal,” Moats said of the Vikings. “I’m honored to be a part of the team. I look forward to being a member of the team and working hard to help us get to the Super Bowl.”

Moats began his career with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he was selected in the 3rd round of the 2005 NFL Draft. Vikings Head Coach Brad Childress was Philadelphia’s offensive coordinator at the time and he saw Moats score 3 rushing TDs during his rookie season, including 2 TDs against the NY Giants on December 11  and another the following week against the Rams. During his rookie season, Moats flashed with long scoring runs of 40 yards against the Giants and 59 yards against the Rams.

After limited action for the Eagles in 2006, Moats was injured in 2007 and was eventually waived in August of 2008. He then signed with the Cardinals for a few weeks before the Houston Texans signed him to their practice squad in October of 2008.

Moats, who stands at 5-8, 210 pounds, was eventually elevated to Houston’s 53-man roster and he actually got his 1st carry of the ’08 season against the Vikings in Week 8. An injury to Ahman Green gave Moats more playing time and he broke through with a 3-TD game in place of regular starter Steve Slaton; Moats’ 3-TDs tied for the most single-game TDs by an NFL RB in ‘09. Moats also had 126 yards on 23 carries during that game.

In 2009, Moats led the Texans in rushing TDs with 4 and he was 2nd – behind Slaton – in carries (101) and rushing yards (390). For his career, Moats has averaged 4.1 yards per attempt on 201 career caries and also has 9 TDs (8 rushing, 1 receiving).

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