Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
The Vikings' two biggest moves so far this offseason have surrounded the wide receiver position. First it was the trade of Percy Harvin to the Seahawks, then it was the free-agent signing of Greg Jennings.
The net effect of these moves is a positive for the Vikings as Jennings has said all the right things about his new team and his new quarterback. In a phone interview with ESPN, he indicated that he has confidence in Christian Ponder.
Without question Jennings takes over as the top receiver. A second-round selection of Green Bay in 2006, Jennings averaged 65 receptions, 1,028 yards and eight touchdowns from 2006 to 2011. He's coming off a season where he missed eight games due to an injury. His four touchdowns in 2012 would rank him second on the Vikings.
As the roster stands right now, Jerome Simpson is the second wide receiver on the roster. Coming off a disappointing season with only 26 catches for 274 yards, Simpson actually gets a $100,000 raise for 2013. With how his new one-year contract is structured, he could make $2.1 million this season after getting $2 million last year.
The Vikings are hoping that this is a rebound year for Simpson, and that he can return to the form he had in Cincinnati in 2011. His best year since being drafted in 2008 in the second round, he caught 50 catches for 725 yards and four touchdowns.
In the mix to take over as the slot receiver is second-year receiver Jarius Wright. Wright was not active on Sunday until after Harvin was injured in Week 9. In seven games he caught 22 passes for 310 yards and two touchdowns. In a much smaller sample size, Wright averaged 3.2 yards more reception than Harvin. If we continue to spin the statistics, his average of 11 catches per touchdown is much better than the 20.6 receptions per touchdowns for Harvin. But, let's not get too carried away, Wright is not going to be as good as Harvin.
The biggest question remains who the Vikings will select in the draft. Perhaps Keenan Allen from California, Cordarrelle Patterson or Justin Hunter from Tennessee will emerge as the Vikings' top receiver this season.