NFL Rumors: Donald Driver Would Help Make Minnesota Vikings Contenders

Brian LeighFeatured ColumnistJanuary 30, 2013

GREEN BAY, WI - DECEMBER 23: Donald Driver #90 of the Green Bay Packers on the sidelines against theTennessee Titans at Lambeau Field on December 23, 2012 in Green Bay, Wisconsin.  (Photo by Tom Lynn /Getty Images)
Tom Lynn/Getty Images

The Minnesota Vikings, a team that's had no semblance of a passing game since Brett Favre led them to the NFC Championship Game in 2010, is reportedly interested in upgrading their pitiful crew of wide receivers.

That their rumored target is a lifelong member of the Green Bay Packers only serves to sweeten the pot.

Per Paul Imig of Fox Sports Wisconsin, the Vikings reportedly might make a run at Packers wide receiver Donald Driver:

Could Donald Driver play for the Minnesota Vikings next season?
According to a report from Fox 11 Sports in Green Bay, the Vikings are interested in signing the Packers' all-time leading receiver. Driver, who will turn 38 on Feb. 2, is an unrestricted free agent after spending all 14 of his NFL seasons in Green Bay.

Driver has a close working relationship with the news outlet reporting the story, having hosted the "Inside the Huddle" show at that station for nearly a decade.

The timing of this report is odd, coming less than a week after USA Today reported that Driver was leaning toward retirement. And to make the picture even more muddled, that USA Today report came soon after Driver told Fox 11 Sports (per Imig's article) he thinks he "could go to any team and be either their No. 1 or No. 2 guy and be solid for another three years."


Let's take this piece by piece. Regardless of what USA Today reported, Driver certainly doesn't sound like a guy who's leaning toward retirement. He sounds like a guy who mistook the number "three" in his age with a "two." (Driver turns 38 on February 2nd).

Driver probably can't play at his self-purported level for three more years, but that doesn't make him a bad signing for Minnesota. Heck, even if he can't contribute next season, the mere addition of his aura to their locker room immediately makes the Vikings better.

After oft-injured star Percy Harvin, the Vikes' receiving corps last season included four guys who, between them, averaged 304 yards on the year, and one guy so slow his nickname is literally "molasses."

Driver, in almost any physical state, would be an upgrade over that wretched band of misfits. Given the price tag it would cost to procure him, which can't be too high, that makes the Packers lifer a low-risk investment.

And a high-upside one, too. Driver's stats have slowly dwindled the past three seasons, hitting their sad nadir in 2012-13, a season where Driver was frequently a healthy scratch, and recorded just seven receptions.

But that was in Green Bay, a city whose surplus of wide receivers is greater than its surplus of dairy. He was being blocked by the deepest, most talented group of peers in the NFL. Who's to say if his drop-off is really as graphic as his stats suggest?

Driver's presence would take pressure off Percy Harvin in the passing game and provide Christian Ponder with a secondary threat on the perimeter for the first time in his career. It's easy to watch the young QB play and make sweeping judgements, but until Minnesota commits itself to surrounding him with talent, it's hard to know how good he really is.

Every directly-involved party, from Driver to Ponder to Harvin to Adrian Peterson (who would benefit from the extra running room), deserves a chance to see what would happen with Driver in Minnesota.

Vikings fans do too.