The Five Most Likely Landing Places for Michael Vick
With Vick's official release and impending reinstatement, it's time to think about where the fallen star might finally land.
While the knee-jerk reaction would be to blanch at the thought of him joining your team, the fact remains that Vick is a unique physical talent, and if utilized correctly in the right system, he could be a devastating addition.
The following are the five teams I see as most likely to land the former No. 1 overall pick and the odds of them doing it.
20:1—New England Patriots
Vick's legal situation is unique, but the Patriots, under head coach Bill Belichick, have never shied away from controversial players. Randy Moss had practically vanished in Oakland before being acquired for a song, and he had left Minnesota amidst allegations he took plays off.
Corey Dillon had been as disgruntled as a player could be in Cincinnati, famously stating that he'd rather work at McDonald's than play another down for the Bengals.
Rodney Harrison was notoriously the most hated player in the league in San Diego and was thought to be in the twilight of his career.
All three players had wonderful careers (and still are having, in the case of Moss) in New England and were instrumental in the Patriots' decade of dominance.
Vick wouldn't play quarterback in New England, barring injury or an amazing regression by All-World quarterback Tom Brady.
However, the amoeba offense the Patriots run, which emphasizes matchups, ingenious play calling, and utilizing the skills of their players, would suit Vick fine.
Assuming he still has some of that amazing athletic ability that made him such a nightmare for defensive coordinators from 2002 to 2006, he could become a devastating addition to an already lethal offense.
If there's anyone who could figure out the best way to utilize him in a non-quarterback capacity, it'd be the Mad Genius in a Cutoff Hoodie.
After Nick Saban's betrayal and the Cam Cameron debacle, Bill Parcells and Tony Sparano remade the Dolphins almost overnight, turning one of the worst teams in the league into the AFC East champions with a mishmash of players and the ingenious play calling of Dan Henning.
They brought the word "Wildcat" back into the NFL lexicon and exposed defense after defense with their direct snaps and running back options.
The quarterback situation in Miami is arguably the most shaky amongst division champs. Chad Pennington is a more fragile Chris Chandler, and at best, he can throw 30 yards with a tail wind.
Backup Chad Henne is unproven, and second-round draft pick Pat White doesn't project into an NFL quarterback, despite his impressive college accolades.
Vick would immediately be, at worst, their No. 2 quarterback and would add a devastating dimension to their wildcat offense.
Not only was Vick blessed with unmatched speed and quickness, but one of the fastest and powerful releases the NFL had ever seen.
An interesting note: Dan Henning was with the Panthers the first time he unveiled his Wildcat offense. That game saw a combination of DeShaun Foster and DeAngelo Williams almost single-handedly defeating the Atlanta Falcons, quarterbacked by none other than Mike Vick.
If there's anyone that knows first-hand what Vick can do on the football field, it'd be the former offensive coordinator of a team that watched him tear up the Panthers for four years.
The Vikings quarterback situation has been in utter turmoil since the offseason. The coaching administration has obviously lost faith in Tarvaris Jackson, evidenced by their trading for Sage Rosenfels. The current melodramatic pursuit of Brett Favre suggests they're not even satisfied with that addition.
Vick's best season statistically occurred in 2002. That season, the Falcons' offense was led by TJ Duckett and Warrick Dunn, and Vick was used mostly on play action roll outs and designed runs.
The Vikings already have one of the better running backs in the league in Adrian Peterson and are the proud owners of a tight end, Visanthe Visancoe, in the mold of Vick's former favorite target, Alge Crumpler.
Assuming Favre doesn't decide to return again, and arguably even if he does, Vick would be the most talented quarterback on the roster. With a punishing ground attack and a brick wall on the offensive side of the ball, Vick would be free to do what he does best: roll out on play action, hit tight ends and deep routes, and run when the play breaks down.
As an added bonus, the Vikings play on a fast track in Minnesota, and the location would allow him to keep a lower profile than he would in a larger media market. That is, until ESPN switches all their non-stop Favre coverage into Vick coverage.
5:1—New Orleans Saints
The Saints already have one of the best offenses in the league. At times last year, it seemed Brees could turn people out of the stands into 150-YPG receivers, and the emergence of Pierre Thomas has given them the running threat they thought they'd acquired when they drafted Reggie Bush No. 2 overall in 2006.
Speaking of Bush, he's still a dynamic presence wherever he lines up on the field, creating a matchup nightmare for opposing defensive coordinators.
It's difficult to forecast where Vick would fit in. Reggie Bush already offers Vick's explosive running ability, and Drew Brees is the passer Vick could never hope to become.
However, coach Sean Payton has already met with Vick, and the turf in New Orleans would be to his benefit.
The Saints could try to turn Vick into a pure receiver. While he lacks the size and strength to beat jam coverage, if able to get out into the open, he'd be impossible to contain, and if there's any quarterback who can find him, it's Brees.
New Orleans could also substitute him in at quarterback in some special packages, allowing Vick to either take advantage of tight ends Billy Miller and Jeremy Shockey or opening up the field and finding running lanes.
2:1—St. Louis Rams
The Rams are a team in serious transition. The ownership situation is a mess, and there are rumors the team is on the way out.
Quarterback Marc Bulger's performance has been in steady decline for the past two years, and backup Kyle Boller causes no reason for excitement. Gone are pillars of the "Greatest Show on Turf", like Tory Holt and Orlando Pace.
New coach Tony Spagnuolo might realize they lack talent at almost every position and could be willing to roll the dice. With running back Stephen Jackson, they have the kind of power running game Spagnuolo watched while defensive coordinator for the New York Giants.
Second-year wide receiver Donnie Avery had a very promising rookie year and would provide Vick the deep option on play action roll outs.
There are two very interesting organizational connections. Current Rams general manager Bill Davaney was assistant GM for the Falcons from 2006-2007.
Vice president of player personnel, Tony Softli, was with the Panthers from 1995 to 2006, and had been instrumental in acquiring players on defense designed to slow Vick down.
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