The Vikings desperately need a receiver capable of taking the top of a defense if for know other reason than to give Christian Ponder a no-excuses 2013 season in which he will be expected to make major strides as an NFL quarterback.
Minnesota is expected to make a run at receivers via free agency and also invest heavily in the position during April’s NFL Draft. Percy Harvin remains a giant question mark right now, so that leaves only Jarius Wright as a receiver on the roster with any notable experience in the NFL, and that isn’t saying much.
Greg Jennings has been tossed around as an option for the Vikings, and he still might be, but as opening day of free agency draws nearer it appears Steelers free agent receiver Mike Wallace is going to be the focus of “reports.”
Jeff Darlington of NFL.com penned an item on Wednesday all about the Miami Dolphins and their need to provide Ryan Tannehill with more weapons. Buried in the article, however, is a line about how Miami’s General Manager Jeff Ireland fully expects to be in a bidding war with Minnesota for Wallace’s services.
I can’t say that I am overly surprised. Wallace is only 26 years old, has some of the best speed in the NFL, and has made some great catches over his career. At 6′ 0″ and 199 pounds he has adequate size to be a top receiver capable of keeping defenses honest, and hopefully opening up the ground game for Adrian Peterson.
On the other hand, Wallace has proven to be somewhat inconsistent and has had trouble with drops of late. If Christian Ponder is unable to take advantage of Wallace’s deep threat skill set, and Wallace struggles running shorter routes and making tough catches, I worry that we could be seeing another version of Bernard Berrian.
I also worry that, in a league where teams really don’t harbor two high-priced wide outs on one roster, that signing Wallace to an inevitably large contract would simultaneously be signing Percy Harvin’s pink slip. Wallace could very well command a five year deal worth in excess of $40 million, if not much more.
Still, the Vikings must eventually take a chance on somebody if they want to make a genuine effort at creating a whole offense, and Wallace appears to meet the criteria to be a key piece in that puzzle.