MANKATO -- Kelly Campbell can outrun almost everybody on the field, which makes Minnesota excited. He also weighs only half as much as teammate Bryant McKinnie, which makes the Vikings worry.
Trying to make a catch in a scrimmage Tuesday night, Campbell's 5-foot-10, 171-pound frame took a jolting hit from strong safety Brian Russell. But he just got up and jogged back to the huddle.
"At least we know he can hold up from a hit like that," coach Mike Tice said. "I think that was one of the questions."
Speed is not one of the questions, which is why the Vikings have made Campbell their third wideout behind Randy Moss and D'Wayne Bates. Moss (6-4, 204) and Bates (6-2, 215) have more typical bodies for the position.
"His deal is, we've just got to keep him healthy because he's so frail," wide receivers coach Charlie Baggett said of Campbell.
It's not a concern to Campbell, a second-year player out of Georgia Tech who's also in line to return punts.
"That's football," he said. "Being a receiver, you're going to take some licks. That's one of the things why this sport is so fun. I love the contact, I love getting hit."
Even for someone so small?
"A lot of people don't understand that right now," Campbell said. "I have to prove a point by popping back up. ... I can't worry about my size. Can't worry about my weight. But I have heart for the game."
Campbell was inactive for the first three games last season, released and then spent five more games on the practice squad until being added to the roster in November. He finished with 13 receptions, 176 yards and three touchdowns -- two of them in the season finale against Detroit.
"The way you evaluate a kid is when the fire is turned up," Baggett said. "He got into battles, game-time situations, and flourished some. He has proven he can play in this league."
The Vikings remain confident in Bates as their second receiver -- "Fans are trying to compare him to Cris Carter, and he's not Cris Carter," Tice said.
Fourth-round draft choice Nate Burleson will be the fourth wideout, and seventh-rounder Keenan Howry has the edge to be No. 5.
Veteran Derrick Alexander, an injury-prone disappointment since he signed as a free agent last year, could be the sixth if he's healthy and shows his skills are still reliable.
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