Free agency is winding down, and the Minnesota Vikings have enjoyed a quiet, if intriguing week of trades and transactions.
Things truly kicked off on Friday, when the Vikings acquired the deep threat they’ve been lacking by trading for Miami’s Mike Wallace. Shortly after making the move, Rick Spielman released veteran wide receiver Greg Jennings, freeing up more than $5 million in cap space. The flurry of roster changes seemingly solidified Minnesota’s wide receiver corps, but I’m hard-pressed to believe the front office is finished tinkering.
Right now, it appears Jarius Wright will fill Jennings’s role with the team, working from the slot in the intermediate passing game. Wallace will split outside and give the Vikings some speed down the field. He’s a burner, and Norv Turner will likely find ways to utilize that explosiveness opposite the emerging Charles Johnson.
Even with Cordarrelle Patterson on the roster, the Vikings lack a big bodied receiver who can win jump balls and secure targets in the short passing game — routes like slants and posts. Charles Johnson emerged from the shadows in 2014, but he’s yet to prove he can make those plays. Adam Thielen, for all of his fanfare and love in Minnesota, won’t be at the top of the depth chart any time soon.
Luckily for Rick Spielman, this year’s draft class is loaded with talent at wide receiver, including one player I believe the Vikings will pick 11th-overall:
As many of you know, Teddy Bridgewater and DeVante Parker played together at Louisville from 2011 to 2013, where the two combined for 1,920 yards and 28 touchdowns.
In his Vikings Territory scouting report of Parker, Luke Inman called the 6’3″, 209-pound receiver a “Randy Moss Lite” because of his deep speed, incredible catch radius, and mastery of the jump ball. Unlike Amari Cooper and Kevin White, Parker complements Norv Turner’s “Air Coryell” offense incredibly well, stretching defenses to open up the underneath routes.
Yes, the receiver position is crowded in Minnesota, but the Vikings picked up Wallace at a relatively cheap price (a 5th-round draft pick in 2015). He’s not the red zone threat the team needs, and may be more well-suited to a role as the Vikings’ number 2 receiver. Am I crazy for saying the Vikings will select Parker? Possibly, but I also know much Bridgewater enjoyed playing with Parker:
Teddy on Louisville WR DeVante Parker: "It would be amazing to reunite w/ that guy knowing what he's capable of doing." #vikings
— Darren Wolfson (@DWolfsonKSTP) January 16, 2015
Reunited, and oh, does it feel good.
Be sure to check out my entire mock draft for full analysis of all 32 teams!