Wide Receiver

The Wide Receiver position was a huge weakness for the team this season. After losing Sidney Rice over the offseason they did not add any big names to replace him. The team added Devin Aromashodu and Michael Jenkins to add depth to the position and drafted Stephen Burton in the late rounds of the draft. None of them stood out as a great option for the quarterbacks to throw to. Bernard Berrian tried to have a bounce back year after getting his contract restructured but ended up being cut after showing nothing on the field at the beginning of the season and missing team meetings. Greg Camarillo was another guy who didn’t do much for the team this season. Percy Harvin is obviously their go to guy in the slot as a possession receiver. He is the team’s best option to provide yards after catch and was even used in the backfield quite a bit this season.

I think it’s clear that the Vikings need a major upgrade to their wide receiver core this offseason. Percy Harvin will obviously return as the slot receiver. Michael Jenkins has two years remaining on his contract so he will return as an outside receiver that will provide sure hands and a size advantage. Everyone after that is still to be determined. The Vikings are in desperate need of a number one outside receiver. To the benefit of the Vikings the free agent WR class this year could be filled with some big names as you can see below. The only problem will be convincing someone to play here for a team coming off a 3-13 season with a second year quarterback. If they go that route, they may have to offer a lot of money to lure someone to the Twin Cities. If I had to choose, my first option would be to get on the phone with Dwayne Bowe’s agent and get him in a Vikings uniform, but names like Vincent Jackson, Marques Colston and Steve Johnson also fit the type of player they need on this team. If that’s not the way they want to go the Vikings also have the option to draft a receiver. One of the names available is college superstar Justin Blackmon out of Oklahoma State who is projected to be drafted in the top 5 in the draft. Some of the other top wide receivers available in the draft are listed below as well.

Under Contract: Percy Harvin, Michael Jenkins

Practice Squad Options: Emmanuel Arceneaux, Stephen Burton, Kris Adams, Kerry Taylor

Vikings Free Agents: Devin Aromashodu, Greg Camarillo

Possible NFL Free Agents:

Top Tier: Dwayne Bowe, Marques Colston, DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Steve Johnson, Wes Welker, Reggie Wayne, Brandon Lloyd, Mike Wallace (restricted)

Others: Robert Meachem (NO), Mario Manningham (NYG), Early Doucet (ARZ), Harry Douglas (ATL), Eric Weems (ATL), Roscoe Parrish (BUF), Legedu Naanee (CAR), Earl Bennett (CHI), Roy Williams (CHI), Andre Caldwell (CIN), Jerome Simpson (CIN), Eddie Royal (DEN), Rashied Davis (DET), Maurice Stovall (DET), Bryant Johnson (HOU), Pierre Garcon (IND), Anthony Gonzalez (IND), Jerheme Urban (KC), Devin Aromashodu (MIN), Bernard Berrian (MIN), Greg Camarillo (MIN), Deion Branch (NE), Matt Slater (NE), Domenik Hixon (NYG), Devin Thomas (NYG), Plaxico Burress (NYJ), Derek Hagan (OAK), Chaz Schilens (OAK), Steve Smith (PHI), Jerricho Cotchery (PIT), Patrick Crayton (SD), Braylon Edwards (SF), Ted Ginn (SF), Josh Morgan (SF), Mike Sims-Walker (STL), Micheal Spurlock (TB), Donnie Avery (TEN), Kevin Curtis (TEN), Lavelle Hawkins (TEN), Donte’ Stallworth (WAS)

Top NFL Draft Options (Projected Round):

Justin Blackmon Oklahoma State (Top 10), Michael Floyd Notre Dame (Rd 1), Kendall Wright Baylor (Rd 1), Alshon Jeffery South Carolina (1-2), Mohamed Sanu Rutgers (1-2), Dwight Jones North Carolina (2-3), Rueben Randle LSU (2-3), Nick Toon Wisconsin (2-3), Brian Quick App. St. (2-3)

Tight End

The Vikings surprised everyone in the draft last season when they picked TE Kyle Rudolph in the second round. They started him off slowly this season, giving Shiancoe the majority of the snaps early on. A lot of fans wanted to see more of Rudolph to find out why he was so highly touted. In the final three games they gave Rudolph a hard look by playing him the majority of Snaps at TE but he wasn’t really a factor. Neither Rudolph or Shiancoe had any standout performances on the season. They both had flashes of brilliance by making great catches and Rudolph showed how vital he can be in the red zone as a big target. The Vikings are also very high on Mickey Shuler and Allen Reisner. Both players are young and haven’t seen very much on the field action but the Vikings seem to be impressed with their skill set, especially in Reisner. The major loss for the Vikings will be Jim Kleinsasser who has announced he will retire after 13 seasons with the Vikings. Kleinsasser was an exceptional blocker for the Vikings on the line of scrimmage and in the backfield as a FB. You don’t really notice him much while watching the games but once he is gone next season you will realize what a big factor he played.

After seeing the emergence of big tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham, Vikings fans are hoping to see the same type of player in Kyle Rudolph. It is clear Rudolph will be the Vikings future starter at TE and he should be given the opportunity next season to prove why he was the first TE drafted in 2010. This also likely means they will let Shiancoe seek greener pastures via free agency and save their money for other needs. Reisner and Shuler will be given the opportunity to earn roster spots in training camp and the key for them will be to show they are capable of blocking. The Vikings may seek a low cost veteran TE to add depth at the position, someone who is proven capable of both receiving and blocking in the NFL. I don’t know much about the free agent TEs below but those are the options they can choose from if they decide they need a veteran. I don’t see the team using a draft pick on a tight end since they already have 3 young guys on the roster.

Under Contract: Kyle Rudolph

Practice Squad Options: Mickey Shuler, Allen Reisner

Vikings Free Agents: Visanthe Shiancoe, Jim Kleinsasser (retired)

Possible NFL Free Agents: 

Top Tier: Jermichael Finley (GB), Tony Gonzalez (ATL), Fred Davis (WAS), John Carlson (SEA)

Others: Mike Leach (ARZ), Joe Zelenka (ATL), Scott Chandler (BUF), Gary Barnidge (CAR), Richie Brockel (CAR), Jeremy Shockey (CAR), Kellen Davis (CHI), Bo Scaife (CIN), Alex Smith (CLE), Martellus Bennett (DAL), Daniel Fells (DEN), Joel Dreessen (HOU), Jacob Tamme (IND), Zach Potter (JAC), Jim Kleinsasser (MIN), Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN), Randy McMichael (SD), Justin Peelle (SF), Billy Bajema (STL), Craig Stevens (TEN)

  • Be sure to check out our other installments of Vikings Off-season Outlook: QB/HB – WR/TE – OL – DLLBCB/S

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