While we know that the Minnesota Vikings are looking for a couple of answers at wide receiver, the Cincinnati Bengals yesterday released a player that could, potentially, be beneficial to the team if they feel they can be patient.
The Bengals cut third-year receiver Jordan Shipley loose on Friday, and he fits the profile of someone that Rick Spielman might take a chance on, given the team's signings this off-season. Shipley was taken by the Bengals in the third round (84th overall) of the 2010 NFL Draft out of the University of Texas, and played pretty well in his first season. He caught 52 passes for a team that featured both Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco at wide receiver, gaining 600 yards and finding the end zone three times. Our friends over at Cincy Jungle went so far as to label Shipley a possible breakout player for 2011.
That didn't materialize, however, as Shipley tore his ACL and MCL in Week 2 of the 2011 season in a game against the Denver Broncos, and missed the rest of the season. The Bengals released Shipley yesterday because, apparently, the knee is still giving him issues. The 5'11", 190-pound Shipley has drawn comparisons to Wes Welker because, by federal law, every white wide receiver in the league needs to be compared to Wes Welker at least once, regardless of whether or not the comparison makes any real sense.
But in all seriousness, if Shipley can recover from his knee injury, it appears that his best football could very well still be ahead of him. The Vikings are third on the waiver priority list, as it's still currently based on last year's standings. So, unless the Indianapolis Colts or the St. Louis Rams decide that they want him (which is a distinct possibility), he's there for the taking for Minnesota. I don't know if the Vikings feel that they could use a roster spot on a guy that they might have to keep inactive for a while in the hope that he fully rehabilitates, but if they did, I think they could certainly do a lot worse than Shipley.
What do you think, ladies and gentlemen?