(Takes deep breath in)....AHHHHHHH. Nothing like some good old fashioned Packers schadenfreude to spruce up an otherwise dismal season, no? Sure, Green Bay still had a better season than our Vikings in every way imaginable, but that doesn't take away from how refreshing it is to realize that the Pack ended up with exactly as many playoff wins as us this year. I'm not sure who feels worse after watching the Giants destroy Green Bay in Lambeau yesterday--Packer fans or State Farm's marketing department.
We'll have plenty of time to make "Discount Double Choke" jokes, so for now let's bring the focus back to forecasting the Vikings' future with our ongoing Project 2012 feature. Our subject this time around is wide receiver Devin Aromashodu. D.A. had the best season of his si-year career in 2011, but he didn't light the world on fire either. He was second on the team in receiving with 468 yards from 26 receptions. That said, being second in receiving on the 2011 Vikings is kind of like winning second place in a Wisconsin beauty pageant. (OK, that's the last Green Bay joke, I promise. And yes, I realize that the new Miss America is from Wisconsin. Allegedly.)
The fact of the matter is that outside of Percy Harvin, the Vikings' receiving corps was entirely forgettable this past season. There's no question that Rick Spielman & company need to address the wide receiver position in free agency and/or the draft if they want to improve the offense going forward. So should Aromashodu, now a free agent, be brought back as a piece of that future?
D.A. had some big plays and provided a spark from time to time throughout the season, but those moments were pretty scarce. He was very rarely one of the main options for the offense and I'm not sure if he'll ever be that type of player. In my opinion he's a serviceable #3 or #4 wide receiver--nothing more. If he's willing to come back for that type of money (read: not very much), I'd be OK with seeing him in purple again in 2012.
The Vikings are at least one more impact wide receiver away from being a legitimate threat in the passing game, but they'll still need bodies. As long as D.A. doesn't demand a ransom for his very average services, I'll welcome him back. But if one of the young guys like Emmanuel Arceneaux or Stephen Burton can step up, then bringing back Aromashodu becomes an Aromasho-don't.
But like always with our Project 2012 feature, that's just my opinion. Read on to see what the other Daily Norseman writers had to say, and let us know your opinion in the poll and comments.
Ted: Ah, the District Attorney. First off, I'm kind of mad that the DA nickname didn't take off and start trending on Twitter, but that's just me. So, should he be back? I'm going to say no. Aromashodu seems like a guy that's hit his ceiling, and they really need a guy that Christian Ponder can rely on to catch the ball when it's thrown his way. Did he do that? Yeah, he did--but he also dropped a lot of passes in big situations. One of the areas the Vikings need a lot of help in is at the wide receiver position, and I don't see the DA being a big contributor in 2012. Ponder did seem to look for DA, but he needs a guy that he knows without a doubt that when the ball is thrown his way, it's going to be a catch.
The only guys in the WR corps I think the Vikings need to keep are Percy Harvin and Michael Jenkins--and if you can give me a good argument as to why player X would be a better fit than Jenkins, I'll listen, OSU ties aside (seriously Mike, thanks for Holy Buckeye and 4th and 14, you'll always be The Man to me. It's not personal, it's just business. We still cool?)
The Vikings need a guy that is a combination of a legitimate deep threat that can take pressure off Percy Harvin, while freeing up Jenkins to make the "move the chain" catches that he's still pretty good at. Is Devin Aromashodu that guy? No, he isn't.
Chris: Devin Aromashodu was one of the more frustrating players for the Vikings during the 2011 season. Many folks, myself included, were wanting him to get a lot more snaps during the days when Bernard Berrian was stealing paychecks from the Vikings. And Aromashodu had his moments, to be certain...he had the great touchdown catch against the Chiefs and a pretty big game against the Broncos. But for all the great moments Aromashodu had, he had plenty of drops and misses as well. With a young quarterback like Christian Ponder, he can't afford to have targets that are consistently inconsistent, and nobody defined "inconsistency" quite like the District Attorney. (I thought it was a cool nickname, Ted.)
Now, if he were more of a younger, developmental type of prospect like a Stephen Burton or someone of that ilk, I could see possibly keeping him around. But he's not exactly a spring chicken...he turns 28 in May, and though there's still plenty of tread on the proverbial tires, the odds of him suddenly "getting it" during the off-season or during mini-camps or anything like that seem to be relatively slim. He's been in the league since 2006, and the Vikings are his seventh stop. Personally, I think he's going to be looking for an eighth new home this off-season, unless he wants to come back for a relatively cheap deal.
Skol Girl: Devin Aromashodu had a mostly forgettable season and that might help him. He didn't emerge as a consistent target for any of the quarterbacks this year, but that wasn't terribly unique with the Vikings receiving corps. This season if a Vikings quarterback threw the ball and it was caught, it was usually safe to assume it was thrown to Percy Harvin.
The Vikings are going to look for a legitimate deep threat receiver this off season either through the draft or free agency, but that doesn't mean Aromashodu's days with the team are over. If there were any behavioral issues with Aromashodu, they were lost in the problems at quarterback or overshadowed by players who actually managed to get arrested. So, I think whether or not Aromashodu has another season with the Vikings will depend on how successful the team is in turning over the receiving corps during the off-season. If they find lots of stellar talent, Aromashodu is likely gone, but if they are thin on receivers going into training camp, then a guy who hasn't caused trouble for the team, has shown flashes of potential (granted, inconsistently), and is cheap might have value to them.
Kyle: Devin Aromashodu--keep him, because I just learned to spell 'Aromashodu'. Now the hardest thing is remembering if it's 'Devin' or 'Devon' half the time.
Ok, in all seriousness, I think we keep him--if the price is right, of course. I agree with Eric's assesment that he can be a decent #3 WR, with a drafted/FA #1, Jenkins #2, and Percy Harvin attacking the slot and being the swiss army knife that he is. That would give us four receivers, with Burton and maybe another guy as depth (Arceneaux?).
Aromashodu had some decent big-plays and nice catches this season, and he has nice speed. Of course, Bernard Berrian (and even furthermore Troy Williamson) have shown us being a "speed receiver" is not enough, but while Aromashodu had a few drops in key plays, I don't think he's in that category yet. His numbers (26 catches for 468 yards for an avg. of 18, with 21 first downs and 1 TD) are about right for a #3 WR, IMO.
As I did mention at the beginning, the stickler here will of course be price. I doubt he's going to command much on the FA market, but if he decides to hold out for big numbers or a long-term contract (he is 27), then I say "Au revrois, dude".
Mark: I do not think they will offer Aromatherapy a new contract nor should they. He has been in the league for 6 years now and last year was his best year with 26 catches for 468 yards and 1 TD. He had a "good" year (for him) in 2009 when he caught 24 passes for 298 yards and 4 TDs which was when he was still with Chicago and had the monster game against us.
After 6 seasons I do not see him getting any better. They may decide to offer him a new deal after free agency opens and a few weeks pass by just because he is familiar with the system. But since they will be rebuilding anyway, I would rather go with some youngsters as the #4,5,6 WRs. It may be Burton, Arceneaux, and a rookie.
Suppose they decide to try and sign a Vincent Jackson, Dwayne Bowe, or Marques Colston? Or a Steve Johnson, Jerome Simpson, or Pierre Garcon? And then they draft Justin Blackmon in the first round?
They would have one of the FAs, Blackmon, Harvin, Jenkins, Burton, & Arceneaux. That would be decent.
They may decide to draft a WR a bit later too whilst signing a free agent.
I don't know but I think that Devin is going to be able to test the market and the Vikings will re-sign him only if necessary.