Earlier in the week, Fearless Leader did a depressingly effective takedown on the incompetence of Minnesota wide receivers, focusing on the bottom half of the receiving corps.
I'd like to take it a step further and look at the entire WR corps and get to the depths of awful that they really are. But then let's figure out a way to fix it.
Percy Harvin has pretty much lapped the competition on the Vikings, amassing 62 catches for 677 yards and three TD's. But just how bad is the drop off?
The next leading wide receiver for the Vikings is Michael '4th and 14' Jenkins (app. the 6:00 mark, if you're inclined to watch the most awesome 4th down conversion in OSU history), but ahead of him are a tight end and a running back.
Kyle Rudolph has 39 catches for 361 yards and 7 TD's, and Adrian Peterson has 35 catches for 185 yards with no receiving touchdowns. Skynet is working on updating their cyborg programming to include receiving TD's as an option, but it's still in beta testing.
But back to wide receivers. Jenkins has 30 catches for 324 yards and one TD.
Yes, you read that right...Kyle Rudolph has more yards and catches at the tight end position than the #2 wide receiver. Now, it's not unusual to have a tight end end up with more catches than the #2 wide receiver, and in the type of offense the Vikings run, that number isn't too surprising, nor troubling.
But more receiving yards?
That's troubling. At least to me. The Vikings need a guy that can take pressure off of Harvin, and a guy that Ponder can trust to get the ball to and make the catch. I thought Jenkins could be a guy that grabs 45-50 balls a season and move the chains, but he has been unable to fill that role effectively or consistently this season.
But after Jenkins' 30 catches, the rest of the Vikings receivers have 35 total. Among 4 guys, as Chris showed us earlier (Jarius Wright, The District Attorney, Stephen Burton, and
Bernard Berrian Jerome Simpson).
So, to recap: Percy Harvin, 62 catches. Michael Jenkins, 30 catches. Everyone else 35 combined.
The word for that, I believe, is LOL.
First off, what do the Vikings have that works, and what should we see for the rest of the year and moving into 2013? Harvin and Rudolph are awesome at what they do, obviously. So they stay. I also like Jarius Wright--he's shown more playmaking ability in his two or three games that he's played than the rest of the group combined. So Wright stays, and move him to the outside. Make Jenkins your third down guy--that is the best three up combination the Vikings can field, so they need to run with that as often as possible. And work in the rest of the guys as you can, because at this point of the season, there isn't a lot of 'fixing' the position, as it were.
Now, for next year, do a few things. Sign Harvin to his contract extension. Cut or release everyone else, except Wright. I think everyone else's contract expires, save for Wright, so it shouldn't be much of a surprise when these guys aren't re-signed.
Secondly, if any middle of the road former Chicago Bears wide receivers hit the free agent market, DO NOT SIGN THEM. Other than Bernard Berrian's 900+ yard 2008 season and this awesome catch and run against his former team, it hasn't worked. IT WON'T WORK EVER AGAIN BECAUSE THEY ARE BEARS RECEIVERS AND THEY ARE ALL TERRIBLE AND PLAY FOR A TERRIBLE TEAM AND A WHINY QUARTERBACK.
Seriously, according to KFFL.com, Johnny Knox could be (probably will be because he's been on IR all year) a free agent if the Bears don't re-sign him. If he is wearing Viking purple next year, I'm burning my couch. And then my wife will leave me, because she picked it out and it cost a lot of money. Also, house and couch burned down. Then I'll get divorced and piss away all my money in lawyer's fees and I'll lose half my military pension. Then I'll never be able to retire and will work until I'm 80. Which won't happen, because I'll probably fall into a bottle of Captain Morgan and go all Nicolas Cage in Leaving Las Vegas and drink myself to death before I'm 50.
Sorry, I'm better now. Just avoid the Bears guys, okay Rick?
But from that list, are there any guys that might be worth kicking the tires on?
Well, for me anyway, Dwayne Bowe and Danny Amendola are the only guys that really stand out for me. Bowe could very well be franchised, but if he isn't, he could be the legitimate deep guy the Vikings have been missing since Randy Moss was traded. If the Vikings think Jarius Wright can fill that role (and he's promising), Amendola is a sure handed guy that can make the tough catches and keep drives alive, but he's had significant injuries each of the last two years.
Amendola seems like the bargain, big potential upside guy the Rick Spielman goes after, so I think he might be a distinct possibility. No inside info on that, just looking at past history and guys potentially available.
As for the draft, if the Vikings go wide receiver in the first round (and I kind of hope they don't, as it's the most hit and miss position IMO) the only guys I really see being talked about as first rounders are Cal's Keenan Allen and Tennessee's Justin Hunter. But these are just seniors and guys that are known to be eligible for the draft--juniors and redshirt sophomores have yet to declare, so there could be another name or two that filters out as a possibility.
The bottom line in all of this is that the cavalry isn't coming over the hill, and the Vikings have some work to do to get this unit to a respectable NFL level, outside of Harvin. There are a couple of great pieces to build the foundation with in Harvin and Rudolph, but as we all know, they need a lot more help.
Let's hope they get it. Except from the Bears.
I don't want to be a divorced, broke, homeless alcoholic.