Larry Fitzgerald's contract with the Arizona Cardinals will expire after the 2011 season. If the Cardinals and Fitzgerald are not able to come to an agreement for an extension before that time, Fitzgerald will likely be the 2012 free agency's Nnamdi Asomugha.
The way I see it, if the Cardinals are unable to come up with an adequate option at QB by the time Fitzgerald's contract is up, we will be seeing him with a new team in 2012.
Now, I realize that Fitzgerald has formally made his preference to stay in Arizona very clear to the media, but honestly, how long can you stay with a 5-11 team?
That isn't a shot at the Cardinals organization either. They are in a rebuilding mode, and Fitzgerald is in the prime of his career. He owes it to himself to be in the best position to compete for a Super Bowl.
You must be thinking, "Nick, how does this have anything to do with the Vikings? They are in no position to compete for a Super Bowl!"
Rest your verbal barrage sports fans, I'm not saying for a second that Fitzgerald is the "missing piece" for the Minnesota Vikings, what I am saying is that there are enough ties to Minnesota that Fitzgerald could highly consider the Vikings if he were to hit the free agency market in 2012.
Normally, I would be talking about the alleged lack of the franchise tag with the new CBA, but Fitzgerald does not have that problem anyway. His current contract prevents the Cardinals from placing their franchise tag on him even if that option remains in the NFL. In other words, Fitzgerald can play where Fitzgerald wants to play.
This is where Minnesota could come in.
Many of you may know that Fitzgerald was born and raised in Minnesota. As a Minnesota native, myself, I'm rather proud to have grown up 20 minutes away from where he first started his football career at Minnehaha Academy.
Some might be surprised to hear that Fitzgerald was already employed by the Vikings. He spent his teenage years as a ball-boy for the team in the height of the great Vikings of the late 1990s. Fitzgerald even found a mentor in Vikings great WR Cris Carter, with whom he has stayed close to this day.
Carter's influence on Fitzgerald is what made him such a great player. I have no doubt that Fitzgerald is as humble and as kind as he is because of what he learned from Carter.
Minnesota is still home to Fitzgerald, as well. He does live in Arizona, but much of his family, including his father, still lives in Minnesota. He still visits the state very often and holds camps and workouts near his old stomping grounds.
Just in the past few weeks, Fitzgerald has been in Minnesota working out at the University of Minnesota, trying to get ready for the 2011 season. His reason for holding these practices in Minnesota only points to one conclusion for me, his obvious ties to his home state.
So there's why it makes sense for Fitzgerald, now on to why it makes sense for the Vikings.
They would be getting arguably the best WR in the game today (tied with Andre Johnson, of course), he would be an incredible receiving option for young QB Christian Ponder and, finally, because the Vikings need some help with their receiving corps.
There is a strong likelihood that the Vikings will lose Sidney Rice to free agency, leaving them without a true No. 1 option at WR. Who better to fill that hole than Fitzgerald?
If Ponder proves that he is competent enough to catch Fitzgerald's attention in 2011, that might be enough for him to catch some balls from Ponder in 2012. Realistically, all he has to do is show that he's better than the situation in Arizona (which shouldn't be too hard).
Of course, there are always the talks of Kevin Kolb to Arizona, which would probably be enough for Fitzgerald to stay, but what if? What if the Cardinals don't bring in Kolb? What if Fitzgerald wants to play for a new team?
Will he take his talents to South Beach, essentially make an ass of himself on national television and screw over the organization that drafted him? Probably not, but what if he goes and plays for someone like the Vikings?
Crazier things have happened in the wide world of sports.
Who's to say that a guy couldn't want to play for his hometown team? This article isn't a prediction; I'm not saying we'll see Fitzgerald in purple in 2012 for certain; and I'm not trying to piss anyone off.
I'm just trying to say that there is enough evidence to link Fitzgerald to the Vikings if the opportunity were to arise.
Go ahead, tell me I'm wrong.