So, now that we've taken a look at what the Minnesota Vikings currently have at the wide receiver position, it's time to take a look around the free agent pool and see if there's anything intriguing out there. Frankly, there doesn't appear to be a whole heck of a lot out there in this year's wide receiver class, but there are a couple of options that could be attractive to our favorite football team.
Alshon Jeffery, Chicago Bears
Jeffery is pretty much everything a team could want in a #1 wide receiver. He's huge, he's got great hands, he can jump, and he has the potential to dominate a game, as the Vikings saw first-hand in the Bears' last game at the Metrodome a few years ago. His biggest issue seems to be the fact that he has trouble staying on the field, as he's dealt with a lot of injuries.
Of course, all of this discussion is moot. To put it bluntly, I would be absolutely stunned if the Bears let Jeffery anywhere near unrestricted free agency this year. They have more than $50 million under the cap, and with Matt Forte leaving and Adam Gase now the head coach in Miami, losing Jeffery would basically torpedo the entire Chicago offense. If, for some reason, the Bears don't franchise him, the Vikings should just hand the guy a blank check despite his injury issues.
Travis Benjamin, Cleveland Browns
If the Vikings are going to move on from Mike Wallace, then Travis Benjamin would be a pretty decent replacement. Benjamin isn't big, coming in at 5'10" and about 180 pounds, but he is fast. . .and this past season in Cleveland, he showed that he can do more than just run really fast in a straight line. He caught 68 passes for 966 yards despite the rotating clown show that Cleveland put out there at quarterback every week, and at age 26 seems to be the sort of player that Rick Spielman would generally target.
Sure, bringing in Benjamin wouldn't give the Vikings the sort of "big bodied" wide receiver that the consensus seems to think that they need. But if they're looking for the sort of field stretching ability that Wallace was supposed to bring to the table, Benjamin might be the answer they're looking for.
Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals
Another wide receiver in this year's class that fits the mold of someone Spielman might look at is Marvin Jones. He might be more of what the Vikings are looking for anyway, as he has a bigger frame than someone like Benjamin (6'2", 195). He missed the 2014 season with some foot and ankle injuries, but came back in 2015 and put up the best numbers of his career. He caught 65 passes for 816 yards and four touchdowns, which is pretty good for an offense that features one A.J. Green on the other side.
Jones has gotten better each year he's been in the National Football League, save for the one year he missed with injury. He could be on the verge of breaking out, and he would have a connection to Mike Zimmer, though I don't know if Zimmer's connection with Bengals' offensive players would be as strong as on the defensive side. Still, he could very well be worth a look for the Vikings.
Percy Harvin, Buffalo Bills
AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. . .
No. Though I will remind everyone that, at one point in time, Rick Spielman managed to fleece a 1st, a 3rd, and a 7th out of the Seahawks for this guy, who has done basically nothing since. And the thought of what Zimmer might do to Harvin if he tried to throw a weight at him is funny to think about.
Rishard Matthews, Miami Dolphins
Matthews is a bit of a sleeper candidate, but he played pretty well for the Dolphins over the first ten games of the season before suffering an injury that ended his campaign. He caught 43 passes for 662 yards and four touchdowns last season, including back-to-back 100-yard games in Weeks 2 and 3. He's another receiver with pretty decent size coming off of his first contract (he was the Dolphins' seventh-round pick in 2012).
Matthews emerged as a pretty solid target for the Dolphins last season, despite them bringing a few new wide receivers in to attempt to displace him. He's an interesting option, but probably isn't going to be at the top of a lot of lists this offseason.
Brian Quick, Los Angeles Rams
On the surface, Brian Quick looks like he should be a good wide receiver, as he has the size and athletic ability to be effective in the National Football League. However, he's never really been able to shake the injury bug, and as a result has caught just 64 passes. . .in four NFL seasons.
Quick would be the ultimate boom-or-bust pickup out of this year's free agent wide receiver class. If he can stay healthy, he might have a chance to flourish. But he's certainly not someone that could reasonably be relied upon to do that. If the Vikings could take a cheap flier on him, he might be worth a look
Like I said, there isn't a whole lot about this year's free agent group at wide receiver that's going to dazzle anyone. But there are a couple of options out there that could, potentially, help the Vikings out at a position where pretty much nothing is settled going into 2016.