In a move that doesn't come as that much of a surprise, the Vikings re-signed WR Robert Ferguson to a one-year, $1 million contract.
Ferguson signed with Minnesota just prior to the 2007 season. Surprisingly, he was second on the Vikings in receptions in 2007 (32) and averaged 12.2 yards per catch, which is pretty good for a guy that's not known for his great speed. Most importantly to the Beloved Purple, however, is that he was a big part of the Vikings having, by far, the best blocking WR corps in the National Football League. Both Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor sprung a lot of lengthy runs in 2007, and if you look at the highlights of any of them, there's a WR kicking someone's butt downfield to spring them. More often than not, that WR is Robert Ferguson, but all of Minnesota's wide receivers got into the act.
This makes me wonder what exactly the Vikings are going to do at wide receiver as far as the draft is concerned. As of right now, I would assume that the Vikings' WR depth chart looks something like this:
1 - Bernard Berrian
2 - Sidney Rice
3/slot guy - Bobby Wade
4/5 - Robert Ferguson/Aundrae Allison
At least, that's what I think the depth chart should look like. . .or what I'll make it look like the next time I feel compelled to fire up Madden '08 or something.
I'll be the first to admit that WR is not our strongest position. . .but having said that, our current WR depth chart is about 1000% better than it was going into 2007. Berrian all by himself is a massive improvement over what we had. Not only is he the Vikings' most talented WR at this point. . .although I think Sidney Rice is going to surpass him for that title VERY soon. . .but his addition allows Wade to go from masquerading as a #1 WR to filling the slot role that he's vastly more suited to.
A lot of mock drafts have the Vikings going with a receiver at some point in the draft's first three rounds. While I can understand the logic that they're using from their perspective on the outside looking in, where would such a draft choice fit in on the roster?
To be honest, I'm not sure how many NFL teams carry six wide receivers on their roster. I'm sure there are some that do, but I would think that would be a rarity. Last year, five wide receivers recorded receptions for the Beloved Purple (Wade, Rice, Ferguson, Allison, and Stoney McStonehands). If the Vikings do use a second or third-round selection on someone like Mario Manningham or Earl Bennett or Devin Thomas, do the Vikings then carry six WRs, or does that choice replace someone already on the roster?
Of our current WRs, we can pretty safely assume that Berrian, Rice, and Wade aren't going anywhere. Ferguson is cheap enough to cut if it came to that, I suppose, but I fear that the odd man out might be Aundrae Allison. . .and that, quite frankly, would sadden me. Allison showed a bit of potential as a receiver in 2007, but was absolutely outstanding on kick returns, setting a Vikings' team record for longest play with a 104-yard return against San Diego and having a few other returns that went for at least 60 yards. But the somewhat baffling signing of Maurice Hicks, coupled with the prospect of another receiver being selected in the draft, has got to have #84 a bit worried about his job security.
So, as crazy as this sounds. . .I'm not sure if the Vikings are going to draft a wide receiver early at all in 2008, and they may, in fact, not draft one at all. If they do, the battle at WR going into training camp is going to be a very interesting one.
I'm going to attempt to get the Mock Draft Database updated here before I head for bed this evening, so stay tuned for that. Continue enjoying your Saturday, everybody!
Update [2008-3-15 22:18:47 by Gonzo]:
I've got the Mock Draft Database partially updated. I believe there are about 35 mocks up there now. I'll add some more in tomorrow.