The abundance of receivers in Minnesota is a good problem to have, but a problem nonetheless.
There are currently 10 receivers on the Minnesota Vikings roster, which means at least four will find themselves unemployed in the very near future.
Here is a list of the ten receivers vying for the same positions:
- Bernard Berrian
- Sidney Rice
- Percy Harvin
- Jaymar Johnson
- Bobby Wade
- Glenn Holt
- Darius Reynaud
- Vinny Perretta
- Bobby Williams
- Nick Moore
Ten players, five or six positions. I’m sure the pressure is feeling just as hot as the late-summer heat in Mankato, but I believe the first four of these players are locks to make the opening day roster. The other six are competing for, at most, two roster spots. Talk about competition.
Absolute, sure-fire locks to be on the field against Cleveland on Sept. 13
You can’t cut a man making multiple millions of dollars unless his name is Nick Punto. Bernard Berrian will be making nearly $14 million this season, and probably earning every penny. His team-leading 964 yards over 48 receptions provided the perfect deep threat for either Frerotte or Jackson last year.
Sidney Rice started just three games last year, but that was because he was incapable of remaining healthy for more than a few hours at a time. He has shown glimpses of brilliance in the past, however, and should enjoy a breakout season as a 23 year old with tons to lose yet the ability (and height) to prove himself.
First-round selection Percy Harvin has done nothing but impress so far this year. Considered by some as the best overall athlete on the team, Harvin has a running back’s open-field instincts to go with his elusiveness and great hands. While he didn’t play in a pro-style offense last year, Harvin appears to be doing just fine with Childress’ plays.
Should get in, will be shocked if he doesn’t
Jaymar Johnson, now that he has received the blessing of Cris Carter, is no longer a secret. With extreme speed, the reason Johnson was drafted in the sixth round was because of his small size and poor hands. Since last year, though, Johnson has apparently put on twenty pounds and Carter claims his hands are fine. I trust No. 80 to make receiver judgments, don’t you?
The favorites and contenders
The remaining six receivers currently on the roster are fighting for, at best, two spots. The favorites on this list are Bobby Wade and Darius Reynaud, both of whom were impressive last year. Wade, although not flashy by any means, was one of the most reliable options either Frerotte or Jackson had last year, while Reynaud made a few great kick returns.
With Harvin sliding into the slot position, Wade seems to be the odd man out this year. Gonzo, of the Daily Norseman, explains better:
The problem that Wade is going to run into this season is attempting to figure out where, exactly, he fits into the roster. His ideal spot is as a slot receiver, but Percy Harvin will almost certainly take a big part of that role away...He could also possibly fit in as a punt returner, but the Vikings appear to be grooming both Harvin and Jaymar Johnson to take on those responsibilities. He’s simply not big enough to line up full-time on the outside, and even if he was, Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice have those spots locked down.
Even though Wade lead the team in receptions last year, there is a possibility he may not find himself on a team come Sept 13. I have a hard time believing that the Vikings will go with Reynaud over Wade, and I am also struggling with the idea of Reynaud being cut, so I’m going to guess that they both make it on the final roster and that Childress rolls with six receivers for the 2009-10 campaign.
The remaining smorgasbord of receivers
Vinny Perretta, Bobby Williams, Nick Moore, and Glenn Holtremain. Holt was a fairly effective kick-returner for the Bengals last year, but was cut by them for a reason: he simply isn’t very good. If both Harvin and Reynaud are on the roster there will be no need for Holt. The rest were long-shots from the start but could possibly find themselves with a practice squad invitation.
In review, here are the six receivers who I think will make the September 13 roster when the Vikings open the season against the Browns, along with the role they will play:
- Bernard Berrian—Primary deep threat
- Sidney Rice—Second wide-out
- Percy Harvin—Slot receiver and part-time kick/punt-returner
- Jaymar Johnson—Fourth receiver
- Bobby Wade—Primary receiver off the bench
- Darius Reynaud—Primary punt/kick returner, seldom-used as a receiver