Notebook: Talks with Frazier helped Emmanuel Arceneaux choose Vikings
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Emmanuel Arceneaux worked out for eight NFL teams since the Canadian Football League season ended, but the Minnesota Vikings stood out.
Not only because of the offer the Vikings made -- a three-year contract that included a reported $75,000 signing bonus and could be worth more than $1.8 million.
Because Leslie Frazier attended Arceneaux's workout and stayed in touch with the 23-year-old receiver in the weeks that followed, leaving Arceneaux confident the Vikings' coaching staff wouldn't look at him as just another long shot.
"The thing is to go somewhere with someone wants you or somewhere you can possibly be needed, and that's what the Minnesota Vikings have showed me," Arceneaux said in a media conference call on Monday. "They provided me with an opportunity, and that's an opportunity that I look forward to being able to take advantage of."
Like Frazier, Arceneaux went undrafted out of tiny Alcorn State in Mississippi. He considered giving up football before having a revelation -- "I'm looking at 2009, 2010, sitting at home on the couch and just working a normal job," he said -- that convinced him to head north.
Arceneaux quickly carved out a niche as a slotback with the B.C. Lions, catching 130 passes for 1,972 yards and 12 touchdowns over two seasons. His combination of size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and speed (his agent, Bardia Ghahremani, said Arceneaux was clocked between 4.44 and 4.52 seconds in the 40-yard dash at recent workouts) caught the attention of NFL scouts, including George Paton, the Vikings' director of player personnel.
"I'm a receiver that can catch, run and also block," Arceneaux said. "I think blocking has a lot do with it too. It's opening it up for other people. ... I don't mind being an all-around guy."
He'll have to be just that -- and probably make an impact on special teams -- to have a shot at making the Vikings roster. Not only is NFL talent on another plateau, the game is played by different rules, including a ban on receivers charging toward the line of scrimmage before the snap as they do in Canada.
Arceneaux said he played in several schemes at Alcorn State, including a pro-style offense and a version of the West Coast offense in which "all my routes were like home-run balls."
It remains unclear how new Vikings offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans to operate his passing game. But there's no question receiving help is needed, with Sidney Rice perhaps becoming a free agent, Bernard Berrian coming off another disappointing season and Greg Lewis and Hank Baskett unlikely to return.
"I can't just focus on the next thing and worry about how they's doing or whatnot," Arceneaux said. "My thing is to make sure that I compete and am in the best condition that I can be in when it's time for me to compete."
Asked how good he can be in the NFL, Arceneaux repeated the question and then said simply, "As good as God allows me to be."
Running backs coach hired
Frazier completed his coaching staff by adding James Saxon as running backs coach.
Saxon, 44, has coached in the NFL for 11 seasons, including the past three with the Miami Dolphins. He previously spent seven seasons with Kansas City after an eight-year career as a player with the Chiefs (1988 to '91), Miami (1992 to '94) and Philadelphia (1995).
The Vikings reportedly offered the job first to Gene Huey, who was fired last week after 19 seasons as the Indianapolis Colts' running backs coach. Huey, 63, said he planned to take the job or retire.
For the first time since 2005, no Vikings were on The Associated Press' first-team All-Pro team.
Halfback Adrian Peterson was named second-team All-Pro, garnering six votes. End Jared Allen (two), guard Steve Hutchinson (one) and cornerback Antoine Winfield (one) -- who was named to the Pro Bowl on Monday -- also received votes.
Allen, Hutchinson, Peterson and defensive tackle Kevin Williams all were All-Pro picks the past two years.