Tuesday, November 21, 2017

michael jenkins

One month ago today the Vikings signed a CFL cornerback and they haven’t made a single roster move since.

Monday, however, the team predictably started the retooling process with their receiver group by cutting veteran Michael Jenkins, according to Adam Schefter.  Jenkins, 30, played two seasons with the Vikings where he accounted for 78 catches, 915 yards, and five scores.

A $2.425 million roster bonus was due to Jenkins this month so the Vikings were forced to decide between cutting him or investing heavily in an aging receiver that has never topped 800 yards in a season.  The decision to part ways with Jenkins provides the Vikings with a cap savings of $3.25 million, putting them at about $17.5 million in space, so it is obvious why they made the decision they did.

The Vikings receiver group was suspect even before Jenkins was cut, but now they are left with a group with more question marks than a suit worn by a Jim Carrey character.  Percy Harvin seems troubled, a Greg Childs return from injury would be unprecedented, and Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu are pending free agents.  If Harvin’s circumstances don’t have him on the field opening weekend, that leaves Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton as the team’s only receivers with notable NFL experience on the roster, and that isn’t saying much.

This is just the latest sign in a long row of them that Rick Spielman and his staff are gearing up to load the receiver depth chart with new faces in an effort to improve Christian Ponder’s 31st ranked passing offense.

If the team finds themselves in a bind down the road, and he is still available, I wouldn’t be too surprised to see Jenkins back with a reduced price tag.

Okay, so, here is the deal.

  1. The Vikings could use an upgrade at wide receiver.
  2. Chad Ochocinco was been released by the Patriots.

So, naturally, Twitter and Facebook are instantly flooded with Vikings fans stumping for Ocho to join the team.

Sound ridiculous?

Well, it isn’t so ridiculous if a guy like Mike Florio of PFT, who actually gets paid lots of money to think about these things, makes a comment like this:

“Look at the depth chart,” writes Florio.  “He’d instantly be the second-best receiver on the roster, behind Percy Harvin.”

So, if Florio wrote this, it must have some merit to it, right?


Now, I like Florio more than many of you do, but I just can’t see how anyone who is paying attention to anything about this year’s Minnesota Vikings can think that there is a place for the 34 year old receiver on this roster.

Last year, playing in one of the league’s best offenses with one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks ever, Ochocinco rarely made any sort of impact.  He played in 15 games, starting three, but managed only 15 catches.  He turned those grabs into 276 yards and a touchdown.

The Vikings receivers had a combination of Donovan McNabb, rookie Christian Ponder, and Joe Webb throwing to them.  Still, many of them managed to out-perform Ocho in 2011.

In 11 games, Michael Jenkins managed 38 receptions for 466 yards and three scores.  Devin Aromashodu had 26 receptions for 468 yards and a touchdown.  With the Bengals, Jerome Simpson had 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns.

I fail to see how the stats, or common sense, could lead someone to believe Ochocinco would “instantly” become the Vikings second best receiver.

The only thing he would instantly become is the Vikings oldest receiver.

No fan or analyst is going to agree 100% with every move made in the NFL Draft in any given year, but this year has certainly left Vikings fans feeling better than they have in recent years.

The Vikings theoretically took big strides in improving their secondary, added a key piece to the offensive line, and should have an interesting competition amongst their receivers.  Still, it is tough to believe that the Draft, combined with the few free agent moves made earlier this offseason, will be enough to turn a 3-13 roster into a playoff contender.

Rick Spielman’s patience in the initial stages of free agency, however, could pay off in the months between now and September.  The team is believed to have $12.5 million in cap space after the Jerome Simpson signing, which is a considerable sum and gives them some firepower if a player that intrigues them becomes available as a result of being a cap casualty.

It is quite possible that this was Rick Spielman’s plan all along, to leave enough space to be major free agency players later on in the offseason when there is a great potential for steals.

Increasing the potential for success in this area is the fact that the Vikings will have third priority for players that are released from their current teams and subject to the waiver process.  Only the Colts and the Rams will have higher priority, and neither of them have the cap space available that the Vikings do.  In fact, the Rams may only have enough space left to sign their rookie class and that is it.

Names like Jacoby Jones, Mike Jenkins, and Josh Brown have already been mentioned in regards to potentially hitting the open market and many more are sure to follow.

The Vikings may be in an ideal situation to scoop up one or two players of value in an attempt to further rebuild this roster from top to bottom.

[Note From Adam:  For previous “Offseason Preview” features feel free to click the following:  The Passers and the Runners.]

At the time of this posting, the Vikings are currently at Senior Bowl practices searching through piles of prospects, and there is no doubt that wide receiver will be a high priority as the team enters their second season of the Christian Ponder era.

Let’s take a closer look.

Get Social