Tuesday, May 24, 2016

mike wallace

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A new No. 11 in Minnesota

How Can Laquon Treadwell Succeed
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Mike Wallace was supposed to stretch the field, create opportunities for other receivers underneath, and give the Minnesota Vikings their first deep threat since Randy Moss exploded into the NFL 18 years ago. On paper, he was a fit in Minnesota, with the speed to “take the top off a defense” and the production to match — Wallace has 22 career touchdowns of 30 or more yards.

Unfortunately, that pipe dream never materialized for the Vikings, who watched Wallace struggle his way to 39 receptions, 472 yards, and two touchdowns in 2015. Despite general manager Rick Spielman’s insistence that Wallace would mesh well with the Vikings, the wide receiver was clearly a square peg in a round hole.

“Norv’s system is based on speed and having a vertical threat,” Spielman said after the team traded for Wallace before the 2015 season. “By adding him, and CJ and Cordarrelle and [the] Jarius Wrights of the world, those guys are able to stretch the field. We have a young quarterback who is just going to continue to get better, and you saw that improvement out of him as we went through the season and now you add another weapon to the offensive side.”

If Wallace were a weapon in Minnesota, he would’ve been an unloaded gun.

Blame the struggles of the offensive line or Teddy Bridgewater’s inability to push the ball downfield, but the veteran receiver failed as more than just a deep threat. He dropped countless passes on well-thrown curls and comebacks, often putting the Vikings in second or third-and-long situations. Outside of the speed to threaten safeties, Wallace offered nothing to the Vikings, especially in an offense designed to protect the football and maximize limited big-play opportunities.

In Laquon Treadwell, the Vikings have a player who can succeed in ways that Wallace couldn’t. The team’s 2016 first round pick has a chance to come in and change the face of Minnesota’s passing attack, giving Bridgewater options at every level of the defense, from the red zone to the middle of the field.

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Poll of the Week

Vikings Veterans Have Something to Prove
Image courtesy of Vikings.com

The Minnesota Vikings are a relatively young team, buoyed by first and second-year players at multiple positions on both sides of the ball. From Teddy Bridgewater to Eric Kendricks, the roster is stacked with up-and-coming contributors who should remain in purple and gold for years to come. Minnesota’s success hinges on their long-term future with the team, but they’re not the only cogs in the winning machine.

Veterans like Adrian Peterson, Terence Newman, and Phil Loadholt are just as, if not more important to the Vikings’ short-term outlook than the team’s young stars. Chad Greenway, set to play his last season with the Vikings in 2016, recently commented on Mike Zimmer’s unbiased, win-first approach coaching.

“He’s just in your face, and you always know where you stand – good or bad,” Greenway said, per Lindsey Young. “Whether you’re 32 years old or 22 years old, he’s going to have you playing your best football every week. He’s going to continue to get you better no matter where you’re at in your career.”

To Zimmer, age is nothing but a number. Newman led the team with three interceptions last season, Peterson won his third rushing title, and Joe Berger was arguably Minnesota’s best offensive lineman. Father Time hasn’t caught up to many of the Vikings’ veterans yet, and they’ll look to stay ahead of the curve in 2016.

Which veteran — any player over 30 years old — is most important to Minnesota’s winning chances this season?

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Image courtesy of Vikings.com

Greg Hardy isn’t the only NFL player that attempted to use the media to promote himself worthy of a roster spot this week. Former Vikings (and Packers and Dolphins) wide out Greg Jennings took to the airwaves yesterday to make it known that he would like to return to the team that released him a year ago to make room for Mike Wallace.

“I left Rick [Spielman] a voicemail,” Jennings said on KFAN. “I told [them], I’m waiting on you guys.”

“I miss being [in Minnesota],” he continued. “You appreciate something more when it’s taken away from you.”

The 32 year old receiver is coming off of two consecutive seasons that were progressively underwhelming. He only started five games with the Dolphins in 2015 where he caught 19 passes for 208 yards and a single touchdown.

With age and production working against him, Jennings may be waiting some time before Spielman returns his call, if it even ever happens.

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The last time we checked in on the best Vikings links from around the web, the team’s roster looked very different. Since then, Minnesota has signed 16 free agents including 11 who played for the team last season.

With a majority of their free agent signings done with, the focus will now shift to what the Vikings will be doing heading into this spring’s NFL Draft. Have their new acquisitions done anything to change Minnesota’s priorities for the Draft?

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The Minnesota Vikings released Mike Wallace due to financial considerations. Mike Wallace signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday due to financial considerations. Anyone that pretends these things don’t come down to money, with few exceptions, is kidding themselves.

With that being said, emotion creeps into our views of our favorite teams, and we attach meaning to the words uttered by those players that are coming or going.

Wallace was a good soldier throughout his one season in Minnesota and was widely praised by the Vikings brass following the season. Upon his official departure, however, Wallace seemingly went out of his way to let his thoughts on Teddy Bridgewater be known.

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