It’s only Week 2. Don’t panic yet.
But the signs all point toward Minnesota needing to address its receiver position yet again during the 2013 offseason.
Percy Harvin, as expected, is Minnesota’s leading receiver: 18 receptions for 188 yards. But no touchdowns. He's one of the best in the business at making defenders miss once the ball is in his hands.
Kyle Rudolph is in the process of becoming an elite pass-catching tight end. He has eight receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown. I just wrote about him as an up and coming fantasy tight end.
But beyond those two, there is next to nothing brewing in Minnesota’s passing game.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of time for there to be changes. There are still 14 games left and Jerome Simpson returns from his suspension in Week 4.
Simpson showed great promise in the preseason, in training camp and on the field. I wrote about him earlier as a fantasy sleeper in deeper leagues.
But he's only played a full 16-game season only once during his four-year career and when he did he caught 50 passes for 725 yards and four touchdowns. He's nowhere near a sure-thing.
Even if Simpson demonstrates he is a viable downfield threat, that leaves Minnesota with two worthwhile wide receivers and a tight end.
Devin Aromashodu is an inconsistent bust at this point in his career. On a good team he could be a fourth or fifth wide receiver. Maybe. When it comes down to it, he is unreliable.
The same goes for Michael Jenkins. Without Simpson, he’s Minnesota’s No. 2 receiver. He has good hands but can't always separate himself from defenders.
Stephen Burton’s one reception on the year was a tipped ball that found him in the right place at the right time in the endzone. He hasn’t gotten much of any playing time, but there’s a reason for that.
Minnesota put $25 million over five years into former Seattle Seahawks tight end John Carlson. Carlson suffered a knee injury early in the preseason and didn’t play a single snap during preseason action.
He was active for the first two weeks of the regular season but hasn’t recorded a reception yet. He’s still getting acclimated with the offense, so it’s understandable that he hasn’t been a difference-maker.
But there will be a point in the next two games where that excuse isn’t a legitimate excuse for limited productivity.
Best case scenario: Carlson and Simpson entrench themselves into the passing game and Minnesota has four players it can throw the ball to entering the 2013 offseason (Rudolph, Harvin, Carlson and Simpson). That still leaves Minnesota lacking a No. 3 wide receiver with Harvin in the slot and Simpson out wide.
Worst case scenario: Rudolph is still progressing and the Vikes have Harvin, with Carlson and Simpson disappointing in their first run with Minnesota.
Either way the receiver position will need help.
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