NFL Free Agency 2012: 5 Wide Receivers the Vikings Must Target This Offseason
The Vikings have the worst wide receiving core in the NFL. Michael Jenkins, Greg Camarillo, Devin Aromashodu and Percy Harvin will not keep opposing defensive backs on their toes. Although, Harvin has all the makings of an elite wide receiver—he is most effective when he is in the slot. With the addition of one of the top free agent wide receivers, Harvin will thrive like he did with Randy Moss and Sidney Rice.
Signing a wide receiver will help the Vikings offensive grow and give their young quarterback, Christian Ponder, another target to help him get over the top and grow into elite status.
Here are the five receivers the Vikings should target in the 2012 NFL offseason.
5. Mario Manningham
2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics: 12 games played, 39 receptions, 523 yards receiving, four touchdowns.
Mario Manningham would benefit the Vikings because of Super Bowl experience and his knack to make a tough catch in space.
Manningham’s name is not as big as the other wide receivers listed, but his ceiling is just as high. Manningham made one of the most spectacular catches in Super Bowl history when we hauled in a pass from Eli Manning between two defenders.
Don’t be fooled by Manningham’s statistics in the 2011 season. In 12 games, Manningham was the third wide receiving option on a run-happy team who also had two of the most productive wide receivers in the regular season, Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz.
Manningham might not be the most popular option, but he will definitely be the cheapest one who could elevate and benefit the Vikings offense.
4. Reggie Wayne
2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics: 16 games played, 75 receptions. 960 yards receiving, four touchdowns.
Reggie Wayne would benefit the Vikings not only because of his experience Super Bowl experience, but because of his consistent production and reliability.
Before the 2011 season, Wayne went seven seasons in a row with over 1,000 yards receiving. In 2011, Wayne played wide receiver for the Colts without a decent quarterback throwing him the ball.
In Minnesota, Wayne will have a much better quarterback throwing him the ball and he could find similar success to what he was used to with Peyton Manning. Wayne was considered one of the best wide receivers in football prior to the end of the 2011 season and he still has the talent to play at that level.
Wayne is the most reliable wide receiver in the NFL because of his consistency at the position and because he has only missed three games in his year 11-year career.
Wayne is a little bit older than the other wide receiver options, but he will definitely help the Vikings short term and create a strong level of confidence in for Christian Ponder. Wayne would also be a cheaper option that could reap high benefits, but not the best option for a team that is looking for youth.
3. Marques Colston
2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics: 14 games played, 80 receptions, 1,143 yards receiving, eight touchdowns.
Marques Colston would benefit the Vikings because of his size (6’4", 225 pounds) and his elite pass catching ability.
With Drew Brees as his quarterback for his entire career, Colston has consistently put up huge numbers. If not for his 2008 season where he missed five games, Colston would have notched 1,000 yards receiving every year during his six-year career.
The only problem with Colston is his health issues. In his six-year career, Colston has missed 10 games, which is not bad, but he has suffered an injury every season. This is not a huge problem, but it is something the Vikings should be wary of.
Colston may be a more expensive addition because of his value, but if the Vikings find a way to snag him from the Saints, expect the Vikings to start moving the ball down the field through the air again.
2. Vincent Jackson
2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics: 16 games played, 60 receptions, 1,106 yards receiving, nine touchdowns.
Vincent Jackson would also benefit the Vikings because of his large frame at 6’5", 230 pounds.
Jackson has been one of Philip Rivers’s biggest targets. Jackson has a knack for making big catches in the red zone and in goal line situations. He is not a great possession receiver, but he is one of the best when it comes to catching the long ball. The Vikings have not been able to stretch the field as of late and Jackson would help in that department. A combination of Jackson and Harvin would be scary.
The biggest problem with Jackson is his attitude. He held out last year because of contract negotiations and has also been known to be "locker room cancer." With a big paycheck and mature coaching staff surrounding him, his ego should not be a problem in Minnesota.
Jackson will be an expensive signing, but fans around the world know that he is worth the money and the locker room risk.
1. Dwayne Bowe
2011-2012 Regular Season Statistics: 16 games played, 81 receptions, 1,159 yards receiving, five touchdowns.
Dwayne Bowe should be the No. 1 receiver the Vikings should covet this offseason. Bowe would benefit the Vikings more than any other wider receiver listed because of his young age, production and his high ceiling.
While the Chiefs were shuffling around through different quarterbacks, Bowe was still able to put up big numbers. Although he did not score often, he was still able to move the ball down the field.
Bowe’s biggest problem is his inconsistency. Sometimes, Bowe looks like the second coming of Jerry Rice and other times, he looks like Troy Williamson.
In the past two years it seems like Bowe has finally buckled down and produced the way he was expected to. The scariest part about Bowe is that he has not yet reached his full potential.
Bowe will also be an expensive signing and it will be difficult to pry him away from his current team. If the Vikings find a way to sign Bowe, he will pump life into both the fans and the Vikings offense. Bowe and Ponder would be one of the deadliest combinations in the NFL for years to come—one that could even compete with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
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