Chase Ford has given Vikings (and Adrian Peterson) a lift

On Dec. 26, 2012, it made little news when the Vikings signed tight end Chase Ford to the practice squad.

Almost a year later, it looks like a smart move.

Ford was elevated to the 53-man roster for good in early November. Lately, with injuries to tight ends Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson, he has made an impact.

The second-year man from the University of Miami has all of his six career catches for 90 yards in the second half of the season. That includes two catches for 55 yards in last Sunday's 48-30 win over Philadelphia.

"Just think, we came out of training camp not even sure that he would make our football team, and he ends up on the practice squad,'' Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said. "And now he's making big contributions to our team. ... Boy, I'm glad we kept him around, because he's really helped us a lot down the stretch.''

The Vikings looked at Ford throughout the past offseason and ended up waiving him at the end of training camp. But he was signed to the practice squad to start the season. Ford was brought up to the 53-man roster Oct. 26, waived Oct. 29, signed back to the practice squad Oct. 31 and elevated again to the 53-man Nov. 2.

In a Nov. 3 game at Dallas, Ford picked up Adrian Peterson and carried him into the end zone during a touchdown run. That was the game Rudolph suffered a season-ending fractured foot.

Rudolph's replacement, Carlson, is expected to miss his second straight game Sunday at Cincinnati because of a concussion. Frazier has not ruled out Carlson being placed on the injured list.

Rhett Ellison and Ford Carlson have replaced Carlson. While Ellison is more of a blocker, Ford caught passes of 18 and 37 yards against the Eagles, the second one coming on third and 14 early in the fourth quarter after Minnesota's lead had been cut to 27-22.

"Coach Frazier always talks about the next man up,'' Ford said. "When you get your opportunities to make a play, you have to make it.''

On the practice squad, Ford wasn't exactly the next man in line to play. But Frazier said hard work got him on the 53-man roster, and he's now taken advantage of his opportunity.

"When we signed him, we saw him as a pass-receiving tight end,'' Frazier said. "And he's improved as a blocker, as well. So he's hard-working guy. And he's come up with some big plays for us.''

Bookmark and Share
blog comments powered by Disqus