After the Vikings' incredibly slow free agency period last year, we've learned to be patient with Rick Spielman and his brain trust. The previous offseason proved that Spielman might be onto something with his philosophy of not spending much in free agency and building the team through the draft. We opined for months on this site about all the available free agents that weren't signing with Minnesota, wondering why Spielman wasn't going after any "big name" players. But it's hard to argue with the results: a seven-win improvement and a surprising playoff berth. Slow, steady, smart, and stingy seemed to pay off.
Which is why this report from Pro Football Talk on Thursday comes as such a big surprise. Apparently the Vikings and the Miami Dolphins are both pursuing unrestricted free agent wide receiver Mike Wallace, which would obviously be a departure from the Vikings' frugal free agent spending habits. Dwayne Bowe seemed to set the bar for salaries of top-end wide receivers earlier this week at around $11 million per year; most experts think Wallace will command at least that with his new contract.
Of course this is all just speculation by a site that tends to post all rumors ranging from "completely legitimate" to "total B.S.", so we'll just have to wait and see how valid this story actually is when free agency officially kicks off in a few days. But as Chris mentioned in today's daily thread, it has been a sloooooow news week in Viking Land. So when a rumor like this is brought up you can be damn sure we're going to discuss it here.
If the Vikings actually do win the services of Wallace next season, it might signal the beginning of the end for Percy Harvin in purple. I have a very tough time believing that the Vikings front office would be willing to pay top dollar for two premier wide receivers. Spending over $20 million per season (the low end of the assumed combined asking price for Harvin and Wallace) just doesn't sound very feasible, especially with the Vikings' recent track record.
I would personally enjoy seeing the Vikings go after Wallace, even if it is for top dollar. We've been looking for a legitimate deep threat for years now, and a deep threat doesn't get much more legitimate than Mike Wallace. He stretches the field as well as anyone in the NFL.
The one major concern I have is that the Vikings might be pushing out one "enigmatic" wide receiver for another. Harvin's problems have been more widely documented, but questions about Wallace's attitude and motivation have followed him throughout his career. Much like Harvin, Wallace is an amazing talent on the field but can be a pain at times off it. If you make an eight-figure-per-year investment on a free agent, you can't miss on it.
What do you think? Would you like to see Wallace in purple next season? Even if it's at the cost of keeping Harvin around?