The loss of Chester Taylor
in free agency has left the Vikings looking to add depth at running back and they have decided to get creative in their quest to do so.
, a wide receiver for his first two NFL seasons, has been shifted to running back. Reynaud is actually returning to familiar territory.
As a senior at Hanville High School in Boutte, La., Reynaud rushed for 1,889 yards on 236 carries and 37 touchdowns as his team went 15-0 and won the state title. Reynaud remained a threat both running and catching the ball during his three seasons at West Virginia
"That's really where he was coming out (of high school)," Vikings coach Brad Childress said during a recent radio interview. "I think it was him and the young man from the Bears (Matt Forte
). He and Darius Reynaud were a couple of the best running backs coming out of high school down in Louisiana. They were 1-2 in yardage.
"He's got the physical skills and abilities. It remains to be seen (whether he can) pick up the scheme, take a good look at the runs and be a good pass protector. But he sure has the physical skills and abilities to be able to do it."
Reynaud proved his versatility during practices last offseason as he was used in various packages that were really designed for wide receiver/running back Percy Harvin
. This meant Reynaud spent some time in the Vikings' version of the Wildcat.
Reynaud became only the 10th West Virginia player with more than 3,000 all-purpose yards, including 1,550 receiving, 1,126 on returns and 410 rushing.
Pro Bowl running back Adrian Peterson
is atop the Vikings' depth chart and right now Albert Young
is second. Reynaud figures to battle for the third spot with recent signee James Johnson
and could still be used at wide receiver if necessary.
Vikings quarterback Brett Favre hasn't decided if he will return for a 20th NFL season, but if he does he's going to have a new nickname in the locker room. Gramps. The 40-year-old quarterback has another reason to feel ancient by NFL standards. That's because his 21-year-old daughter, Brittany, recently give birth to a 7-pound, 7-ounce boy named Parker Brett. An NFL spokesman said the league checked but was unable to confirm that Favre would be the first active player to be a grandfather.
Vikings coach Brad Childress said during a recent radio interview that he continues to wait for Favre to make a decision on his future but as of right now it remains unclear what the quarterback will do."I still don't (know), one way or the other," Childress said. "I don't know if he's even thought about it or contemplated it. I (talked) with him briefly last week and I'm sure we'll narrow it down as we get a little bit further."
The Vikings brought about 30 draft-eligible players to Winter Park this week but there was only one known quarterback. That was R.J. Archer of William & Mary. Archer spent only one season as a starting quarterback in college and actually was converted from wide receiver to quarterback after his sophomore season. He was named second-team all conference last season after throwing for 2,778 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Darius Reynaud's move from wide receiver to running back is actually a return to a familiar position. Reynaud excelled at running back in high school when his team went undefeated.
Reynaud excelled at running back in high school when his team went undefeated.
Darius Reynaud at W. Virginia (Jeff Gentner/AP)