Minnesota Vikings: Randy Moss, Sidney Rice or Fresh Blood?
There is no secret that the Vikings key position players fare much better when placed with a deep threat receiver who can take the top off of a defense.
During the 2010 season, Percy Harvin had his best personal games when Randy Moss and Sidney Rice were around, and was limited when they were both off set.
Brett Favre had a monster game, much like one from his 2009 season, against the New York Jets once he and Moss got going. Harvin also had his first big day as a result of the success Moss and Favre were having that night.
Teams stack up the line with eight men to stop Adrian Peterson. But when the safety has to play back, Peterson gets to play his game.
Thus it's safe to say that Minnesota NEEDS to have a threat. And no, to that one optimist out there, Bernard...Bernard....that guy who wears number... The Vikings don't currently have a deep threat locked up, let's just go with that.
So this begs the question, where are the Vikings going to find their down field/red zone target at the wide receiver position?
Next slide please...
WR Randy Moss
This is a face and a story we've heard before. But as far as Vikings fans are concerned it's not a story that ever gets old.
Randy Moss is loved in this state and, according to him, he loves us right back.
Moss has shown that he can compliment Harvin's skill set ideally. The two of them remind me of Moss and Chris Carter from 1999. Harvin in the middle and Moss on the edge.
The only negative about Moss is his attitude. However, Zygi Wilf has shown no hesitation when baggage is mentioned with a player, so I don't believe that would influence a decision on Moss. His age might be brought up, but he does a great job of maintaining his conditioning and keeping in shape.
A nice bonus is that Moss has worn out his welcome in a few places and created such a bad reputation that he will have to settle with a team; he doesn't have much leverage in working out a contract of his liking.
WR Sidney Rice
The first thing that needs to be mentioned is that if the old CBA is used for the next season, Rice will be a Viking.
That being said, if the players and owners can agree to a new deal then it is likely that Rice will either attempt to leave or be given the highest paying contract of this offseason—something the Vikings may or may not do.
Retaining Rice would be a long term fix for the position. Or would it...
Rice was injured during the first two years of his career and was on the block by the time 2009 rolled around. He answered his critics in '09 by having a great season.
But then he showed how selfish he was by waiting until the 2010 season was about to start to have hip surgery. Don't be fooled; he didn't want to play. I've never heard of someone not knowing they needed surgery until his number was being called. That was cowardly.
So, if the Vikings retain Rice it will be under the knowledge that if he suffers a hangnail on gameday they won't be able to play him.
WR Chad Ochocinco
Here is a name that is starting to circulate among Vikings fans.
Ochocinco is one of the most colorful characters ever to play in this league. He has a big mouth and is by no means a guy to build a locker room around.
But as he is getting older it should be safe to say that Ocho is arriving at a point where he is less relied upon and more of a contributor. Don't tell him I said that!
If the Vikings pursue him, he will do what they require and could be counted on for at least three solid seasons. The question will be his character. His game is not in question at all. Over his career he has solidified himself as a go-to kind of threat who can break games open. (Probably why his ego is so big).
If Leslie Frazier feels like he can control Chad's temper, emotional meltdowns and negative influence, the team just may give Ocho a shot.
WR Vincent Jackson
Jackson is my personal favorite of the receiver class. He is not as injury-prone as Rice, and is a boyscout when compared with Moss and Ochocinco.
The problem with this deal would be trying to get him away from San Diego. The Chargers will do whatever they can to make sure he remains there for as long as possible.
It is likely, however, that Jackson will flee the west coast as soon as he can, feeling disrespected by the management there. If he is able to get away, the Vikings should make every effort, more so than for Rice, to sign this young and talented deep threat receiver.
With the end of Brett Favre's career, comes some money to move around—yes V-Jax will require a payday, but at least he will play after he gets it.
WR Terrell Owens
When motivated and in the right situation Owens can be very relevant. He is getting older but showed last year that he still has what it takes to open up a defense and stretch the field.
The Vikings would once again have a character concern to worry about (what is it with receivers?).
But it would be safe to say that if he plays like he did last year, rookie quarterback Christian Ponder could connect with this guy for some game-changing plays.
Money shouldn't be a concern here; with Owens' attitude and age he can't expect a team to commit big money to him. After playing in Cincy and Buffalo he is used to one and dones, which is all he will have in Minnesota.
This is a stop-gap measure. If none of the previously mentioned receivers are in Minnesota as training camp draws to a close, Owens would have his name considered. Certainly not before other options were exhausted though.
Finding the Right Fit
There is still the option of turning to the new tight end, Kyle Rudolph. At 6'6" Rudolph is going to be a reliable red zone threat. His speed will determine whether he can be counted on to carry out a down field mission on every play. I'm guessing not.
Offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave may be looking to use a new scheme that takes a deep threat receiver out of the plot. It would be safe to say, however, that any scheme would benefit with a big body blowing past defensive backs and opening doors for the Peterson and Harvin show.
The Vikings won't be in a financial crunch—with Favre, and most likely Madieu Williams and that guy who gets paid a lot to be a ghost, heading out the door some money should be available for a big free agent signing.
Moss? Ochocinco? Owens? Or the youngsters Jackson or Rice? Who do you like?