Greg Jennings has thus far had a successful career
a) playing from ages 23-29
b) catching passes from QBs playing at elite levels
c) working in an offense that efficiently utilizes a passing game that seems to get players' best production
Good for him. But if the Vikings sign Greg Jennings, that means they think he'll continue a successful career
a) playing from age 30 and up
b) catching passes from Christian Ponder
c) working in an offense that focuses on the run, doesn't efficiently utilize the passing game, and shows little evidence of getting players' best production.
I think that would be freaking nuts. NUTS. Greg Jennings has been a great system wide receiver, but the Vikings don't have a passing system to fit him into and utilize him. A big contract for Greg Jennings might make sense for some team; it would be a giant mistake for the Vikings do do it.
Looking at available wide receivers, there's one player that stands out. Wait for it, because you're not going to believe who I'm talking about.
What I love about Wallace is that he's definitely not a system receiver. He has the speed to take short passes for long runs and to pass by cornerbacks. He has the size and leaping ability to tangle with a defensive back up in the air. And he has the instincts to adjust to balls in the air to put himself into position to make the catch. Mike Wallace, who will be 27 years old next season, is less dependent on system and quarterback. If the Vikings are going to spend big money to upgrade the wide receiver position, they should go for Wallace: he's the one high-priced guy that can live up to that contract. He'd open up things this offense hasn't been able to do since it lost Sidney Rice. The stats might not be there in this offense, but the big plays and the mere possibility would be incredible.
Where's Wallace! Mike Wallace! Mike Wallace!
If the Vikes go cheap, I like Brian Hartline (update: Hartline resigned with Miami on Thursday) or Domenik Hixon, two guys who shouldn't be highly paid #1 WRs, but who can be productive if a team keeps its expectations (and contract offer) modest. If players like that cost too much money, screw it, go to the draft. Either pay big for Wallace, or don't pay big.
And since we're on the topic of the big start of free agency next week, among the other available free agents this year I'd like in purple include:
Ahmad Bradshaw, or Reggie Bush
I covered this before: if the Vikes lose Percy Harvin, they'll need to find creative and diverse ways to make up his yardage, and a quality #2 RB is one such way.
Some cheap but athletic Tight End
There are plenty available, and the Vikings need quality pass catchers: if wide receiver is too hard to fill, try some other cheap but potentially explosive options.
The Antoine Winfield era can't last forever. Grimes isn't the only possible CB the Vikings could sign--there are a lot on that list--but I like old Grimey, as he liked to be called. I also like Leodis McKelvin simply for being named Leodis McKelvin. Somebody to play safety too. I've long said in today's NFL you need to acquire defensive backs, then acquire more defensive backs, then acquire more defensive backs, then look around and see if there are any more defensive backs you can get.
Also been covered. I'd also be fine with Matt Cassel: not great, and thus cheap with low expectations and solidly a backup, but with two actually good seasons on his resume, meaning the possibility of real competence if called on.
Well, the party starts next week.