Ummm.... there's, uh, nobody out there to throw this thing to.... - USA TODAY Sports
The Harvin trade may be good for both sides, but the undeniable truth is it leaves the Vikings shockingly depleted at the WR position.
Last week when writing about why I thought the Vikings would make a strong play for Mike Wallace and retain Percy Harvin at the same time (ORACLE!), I pointed out that after releasing Michael Jenkins, the Vikings' roster at WR consisted of Jarius Wright, Greg Childs, and Harvin. I also mentioned that there must be someone else just not worth noting- that individual turns out to be Stephen Burton.
So there you have it. Our WR corps, as of this writing, is Wright, Burton, and Childs- who may or may not even be ready to play next season. (That said, if you follow his twitter account, you'll know it won't be for lack of effort. I salute the man for that.)
Yeah, OK, we need some WRs. Fast. Wallace is going to Miami and Harvin's a Seahawk. Wright certainly had his amazing moments last season, but also disappeared for a game or two. And he doesn't even have a full NFL season under his belt. I think the guy could really be a very, very solid WR for us, but he's far from the sure thing Harvin was. It would be phenomenal to have Childs back, and for him to match his potential that he showed in training camp last year before his devastating injury, but that's a lofty gamble on several angles. Burton made the luckiest catch of the year last year... and that was about it.
Jerome Simpson and Devin Aromashodu are both UFAs, and at this point it wouldn't shock me in the least to see Simpson receive one more ‘prove it' contract from us. Aromashodu's a goner, or at least he better damn well be. So let's just say Simpson returns, which leaves us now with four WRs (assuming, again, Childs will be ready to go).
All this shakes out to the obvious conclusion: the Vikings need WRs. Before this trade, I was claiming that LB was really our biggest need. I have amended that now.
When I made my prophetic declaration that Rick Spielman would actively pursue Wallace and retain Harvin, I pointed out that one of my biggest justifications was the fact that he needs Christian Ponder to succeed. Not to knock Wright, but at this current point in time our receivers can't even set up Peyton Manning or Tom Brady for success. The depth at the position is staggering, and not in a good way.
So what now? I would say we need, ideally, two top flight receivers and one more decent one for depth. That would leave us with Wright, Burton, and maybe Childs and Simpson plus three new guys. Of course seven WRs is a lot for almost any team, but I could see Burton being cut (likely during training camp during roster trimming), and again we can't rely just yet on Childs hitting the field. And there is the possibility that in this scenario Simpson won't receive another one year ‘prove it' deal. So we enter training camp somewhere with 5-7 WRs, which is still somewhat thin at that point in time.
With two first-round picks there is the chance that the Vikings will target WRs aggressively and early in the first round. I'm not even going to bother speculating at this time who those WRs could be, or whether they would be drafted at #23 and #25 respectively, or whether we would move up (or down). This means, in my estimation, we would target that mid-tier WR (or possibly two to increase camp bodies) in FA, deals similar to what we saw last year with Simpson.
There's also the possibility that the team will aggressively pursue someone in FA (which is becoming a popular notion right now)- someone like Greg Jennings. I'm still not a huge fan of that move, but at this point in time beggars can't be choosers. Victor Cruz is another name being floated- with two first round picks, it's entirely possible the Vikings could deal with a potential Franchise Tag there. Of course, a FT means more than just giving up a first-rounder; you're also going to have to deal with the fact that the Giants can (theoretically) match any offer we come up with. Either such scenario means that the Vikings could still pursue a top-flight talent in the draft, and probably will do so.
Who knows? These are but two of about a million different options for the Vikings right now. What really isn't optional in all of this is the basic fact that the Vikings must do something, somewhere and somehow, about our WR position. What say you, fellow Viking fandom? What will Spielman and Co. do about the sudden lack of depth (hell, it's beyond a lack of "depth" at this point) at the receiver position?