Between the flashy hair, the wide smile and the charismatic personality, Rodney Adams quickly became a fan favorite in Mankato as fans expected the rookie receiver to secure a roster spot and possibly be the team’s fifth wide receiver during Michael Floyd’s suspension.
But fellow rookie Stacy Coley, now healthy after an injury-plagued summer, is coming on strong.
The Vikings used two of their 11 draft picks on rookie receivers from Florida-based universities with special teams experience and virtually the same body type, making them relatively easy to compare. There’s a good chance only one of these prospects is destined to make the 53-man roster, while the other may have to sweat out waivers and land on the Vikings practice squad, depending on how roster-cut day shakes out.
With Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Jarius Wright and Michael Floyd (post-suspension) comprising a solid top five, there is likely just one receiver spot left — maybe two if the team opts to keep six receivers in Floyd’s absence.
Mike Zimmer pinpointed Rodney Adams and Stacy Coley when asked about young WRs standing out.
— Andrew Krammer (@Andrew_Krammer) August 4, 2017
Either way, both are treating training camp as an audition.
“I’ve progressed with a lot,” said Adams, the fifth-round selection from South Florida. “Coming into OTAs and rookie mini-camp, the playbook was the biggest emphasis. Being here, spending more time on the playbook, I think I’ve made a big leap in learning all the positions and just taking the game as slow as I can to speed up my play.”
Adams concedes that he still has a lot to learn, however, saying that it takes longer than a couple months to fully learn a new offensive system. But if the learning curve is steep for Adams, it is even more formidable for Coley, who missed the majority of OTAs and mini-camp with a quad injury.
The seventh-round pick from Miami (Fl.) watched Adams flourish in OTAs as he stood on the sideline, but the speedster has now begun closing the gap on his roommate. Coley has proven to be a smooth route runner with a seemingly higher comfort level than Adams when catching kicks and punts in special teams. Zimmer told reporters Friday that he thinks Coley is the faster of the two.
His biggest challenge will be to catch up mentally with the speed of the game.
“Just the plays in general, knowing terminology,” said Coley of his biggest adjustment. “Just dial in, just focus in, just hit all the words and all the concepts.”
The two rookie receivers live together in Mankato and frequently bounce playbook questions off each other. They are each other’s biggest resource, as well as their biggest competition.
“At the end of the day, it’s fun,” said Coley. “We’re just gonna help each other out and just work and just continue to work and continue to compete.”