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A Possible Dark Horse In The Vikings Receiving Derby?

The Minnesota Vikings' receiving corps has gotten some attention from fans this off-season. Everyone knows how spectacular Percy Harvin is, and we've been talking a lot about newly-acquired Jerome Simpson, too. We've also taken an extensive look at the Vikings' two draftees at the position, Jarius Wright and Greg Childs. But, according to Tom Pelissero of 1500 ESPN, there's a guy that we might be overlooking.

Stephen Burton, who the Vikings took in the seventh round of the 2011 NFL Draft out of West Texas A&M, has started to develop a bit of a rapport with quarterback Christian Ponder during OTAs these past few weeks, and it sounds like he really has a shot at making an impact for the Vikings this year. Burton saw limited action as a rookie, appearing in just three games. He had two receptions in the Vikings' 35-32 loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 13, one that went for 21 yards and one that went for 17. He injured his knee the next week, and wound up going to the injured reserve list.

The Vikings like Burton's combination of size and speed (he ran a 4.44-second 40-yard dash at 6'1" and 225 pounds). Strangely, he almost didn't make it to this point in his career, providing Pelissero with one of the great quotes you'll read from a player evaluating themselves.

"I sucked at tackle football," Burton recalled last week. "I really, really sucked at tackle football. Contact was something that I wasn't too fond of."

Well, he seems to be pretty good at tackle football now, and is going to interject himself in what could turn out to be a very interesting battle on the Vikings' wide receiver depth chart, depending on how many receivers the team keeps. That's a battle we'll look at more in-depth here shortly.