Recently cut from the Seattle Seahawks, Mike Williams is certainly worth a look during training camp (ESPN). He was looking solid in 2010 when he had Matt Hasselbeck throwing to him, collecting 751 yards and two touchdowns on 65 catches.
Last season he struggled, but as Vikings fans know, Tarvaris Jackson is not conducive for good results from wide receivers. He finished with only 18 catches for 236 yards and one touchdown.
He is coming off of multiple injuries from last season, and had surgery over the offseason to repair his broken ankle. His history with injuries is something to be concerned with, but that also means his price tag goes down even further.
Now, I am actually a fan of the Vikings receiving group heading into 2012. They have a healthy mix of veterans and promising youngsters, all led by Percy Harvin. But Williams is capable of bringing something different to the table.
His shear size and physicality combined with his reliable hands make for a great target for a young quarterback. It would almost be like adding another tight end, but this one would be covered by a cornerback.
Imagine the receiver rotation they could have in 2012. Harvin lined up in the slot, Simpson on the outside, rookies Jarius Wright and Greg Childs in the mix and Williams' towering figure subbing in when needed.
It could be something special. Combine that with two good pass catching tight ends, and Christian Ponder would have all the tools for a fantastic season.
If he made the team, he would have to be incredible in order to get significant play time. But even if he only brought in a handful of catches, his size generates so many mismatches that his presence on the field could open things up for the other receivers. At the very least, he could provide depth in case of an injury to anybody in front of him.
The Vikings had a chance to draft Williams in 2005, but instead chose Troy Williamson. It is hard to say who was the bigger bust, but given that Williams had one good year with Seattle, it seems as if he is the better NFL player. The Vikings have the cap room, so why not see what they missed out on with a training camp invite.
I'm not saying they should overspend for the guy. If another team wants to sign him to similar money that Seattle gave him, they can go right ahead. But given his poor performance last year and injury history, I would find that very shocking.
Instead, offer him a small bonus, the veteran minimum, and tell him to earn a new contract.
Now while everything I mentioned is best case scenario, odds are the team doesn't bring him in. And that would be fine by me—even encouraging—as it would show confidence in what they already have at the position.
In the off chance the team does bring him in, he most likely will get cut before the start of the season. But his presence could generate extra competition during training camp and the preseason, which should push their young players to their highest potential.
It would be like when the team brought in Javon Walker in 2010. Walker didn't make the team, but he did create extra fire in the young players he competed with and provided an extra body during preseason.
The extra body could be nice, as injuries have plagued the Vikings' receivers for the past several seasons. If Williams passes the team physical, there really isn't anything to lose, and potentially quite a bit to gain.