NFL Free-Agency Rumors: Minnesota Vikings and Ted Ginn Jr. Would Make a Good Fit

Mike Nelson@Mike_E_NelsonCorrespondent IMarch 21, 2012

At 26-years-old Ted Ginn Jr. still has time to become an impact receiver in the NFL.
At 26-years-old Ted Ginn Jr. still has time to become an impact receiver in the NFL.Christian Petersen/Getty Images

It's a step in the right direction.

After signing tight end John Carlson to a five-year, $25 million contract on March 14, the Vikings have their sights set on a position that needs serious overhaul: wide receiver.

The first player on their radar? Ted Ginn Jr.

The former San Francisco 49ers receiver was in Minnesota Tuesday meeting with Vikings brass, the St. Paul Pioneer Press reported

He was the No. 9 pick in the 2007 draft, but hasn't lived up to hype. In six seasons, Ginn has 159 receptions, 2,047 receiving yards and six touchdown receptions in 75 games. In 98 return opportunities he has three touchdown returns and 1,099 yards.

If the Vikings can get Ginn at the right price, then he could be a great pickup.

At 26 years old (he'll be 27 when Minnesota opens the 2012 campaign), Ginn fits in with Minnesota's youth movement. And at that age it's time for Ginn to either make a name for himself or settle for being a role player for the rest of his career.

Coming out of Ohio State in 2007, Ginn was all the hype.

In three years at Ohio he accumulated 125 receptions, 1,943 yards receiving and 15 receiving touchdowns in 37 games. He averaged 14.1 yards per kick return and went the distance six times. Then he ran a 4.3 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine and vaulted himself into the top 10 of the 2007 draft.

But things haven't worked as expected for Ginn thus far. Although not all of it is on him. It's difficult to succeed when working with marginal talent.

In three seasons in Miami, Ginn had Cleo Lemen, Chad Pennington and Chad Henne as his quarterbacks. Lemen and Pennington are no longer in the league and Henne has nearly cemented himself as nothing more than a backup quarterback — he's never thrown more touchdowns than interceptions in four seasons.

The one season in Miami that he had a capable quarterback — Pennington threw for 3,653 yards, 19 touchdowns, seven interceptions and completed 67.4 percent of his passes that year — Ginn had his best NFL season. He set career-highs in receiving yards (790), receptions (56) and tied his mark in touchdown receptions (two).

During his two years in San Francisco he had Alex Smith commanding the offense, but Ginn never seemed comfortable.

In Minnesota he would fit in well.

The Vikings expect big things from Christian Ponder in the future. I project Ponder to be better than any quarterback Ginn has ever had throwing to him in his NFL career (whether that's next year remains to be seen), which means he can expect to get the ball in positions to be successful (if he signs with Minnesota).

As a Viking, he would have a clear role that fits his skill set. Minnesota already has a bruising receiver who can go over the middle and battle in the flats in Percy Harvin. What Minnesota needs is a receiver with an ability to go deep and spread the field. And that's where Ginn excels.

Ginn's ability to return kickoffs and punts is also benefit to the Vikings. Harvin, who's Minnesota's No. 1 receiver, is also the squad's best return man. If Minnesota signed Ginn, that would allow Harvin to focus on his duties as the No. 1 receiver without having to worry about a large decrease in the talent level of the return man.

If the Vikings and Ginn agree to terms, it will not help fans forget about Randy Moss. It won't even solidify Minnesota's No. 2 receiver for the 2012 campaign. But it gives Minnesota more depth at a very thin position, and it's a signing (depending on the cash) that has more upside than downside.