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Into The Future, Receiver Position In Question

Bernard Berrian recently restructured his contract with the Vikings which, in part, helped the team get underneath the salary cap in time for Friday’s deadline. 

According to PFT, the Vikings are now $938,000 under the salary cap.

The Vikings staff have expressed confidence that Berrian will have a big year in 2011, but it could be his final season on the team.  Contrary to initial reports (from Berrian’s mouth), his contract will now expire after this season.  Even if he does have a bounce back season, it is unlikely that the Vikings would want to pay the 30 year old receiver big money going into the future.

The team recently signed 29 year old Michael Jenkins to a three year deal after letting Sidney rice get his big money in Seattle.  They also have 23 year old Percy Harvin under contract through 2013.  After that, the Vikings don’t really have much commitment to anyone beyond this next season, other than a few throw away rookie contracts.  Both Jaymar Johnson and Greg Camarillo are set to become free agents after this season.

My point is this:  If it looks like the receiver position is a big need right now, just wait until next year.

Sure, Jaymar Johnson could finally have a breakout season and re-sign with the Vikings.  Or maybe Stephen Burton will turn out much better than anyone expects (and better than he has been in camp so far).  Or maybe Joe Webb actually should be a receiver and will dominate defenders at that position.

Those all seem like long shots, however, and I think the Vikings will be going into next offseason looking for major receiver help.

Which brings us to an item that will make even the most pessimistic Vikings fans feel a little bit giddy.

Larry Fitzgerald Sr., father of the star receiver in Arizona, recently appeared on a radio show where he expressed that Junior might like to play in Minnesota when his contract is up after this season.

“The Vikings are clearing cap space I have heard that but Larry has to make that decision,” he said of his son potentially making the move to Minnesota.  “This is his life and he has always wanted to be a Viking because he is a Viking. He was a ball boy and that type of thing.  He loves playing in Arizona, he’s valued in that community, and he’s a Cardinal.”

Larry Sr. warned that Arizona does, however, have the upper hand when it comes to getting Fitz to sign a contract.

“[T]he Cardinals would have to fall on their face,” Larry Sr. said.

“Well yeah he always wanted to be a Viking growing up,” he answered a follow up question.  “He got drafted by a Viking.  Dennis Green left Minnesota and went to Arizona.”

Receivers like Fitzgerald, with an incredible ability to go up to the highest point and snatch a ball out of the air, are extremely rare.  He is one of the best in the league, and I have to say, I would be excited to get him in purple.

Assuming the Vikings didn’t drastically overpay Michael Jenkins and Percy Harvin is still willing to play on his rookie contract next year, the Vikes might just have the money to dedicate to the position.

Maybe the more realistic solution to keep an eye on is the crop of incoming rookies.  Ashlon Jeffery of South Carolina and Justin Blackmon of Oklahoma State both stand to be first round potentials in 2012 and the Vikings might just be the ones to call their names on Draft Day.

Or, perhaps, something happens sooner than we expect. 

It won’t be long from now and teams will be making their final cuts to trim their roster sizes.  It is possible that a solution presents itself at that time, but the Vikings would seemingly have trouble finding the cap space to pay another legitimate receiving threat to join their roster.

Either way, if receiver isn’t yet viewed as a problem, it soon will be.

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15 Responses to “Into The Future, Receiver Position In Question”

  1. Zag says:

    I do think Jaymar is gonna step up, nut we still need a #1 guy. Harvin needs to stay in the slot.

    I’ve been telling football fan friends of mine that I bet Fitz ends up in purple at one point.

    • Adam Warwas says:

      I think Kaymar will step up, also, but that doesn’t mean he’s going to be DeSean Jackson or anything. He works hard and still has plenty of untapped potential.

      Problem is, though, if he goes crazy this season then he is a free agent next year… a pattern that Vikings WR’s seem to follow.

        • D. Reynaud says:

          Jaymar is a fantasy. He isn’t elusive or quick enough for the NFL. He’s never done anything. He never will. Wrack me and remember it. Call me on it. He’s like Albert Young. Next! There’s got to be alot more prospects out there. Tall guys who can catch, we aleady have elusive Percy and fast Bernard. Find people. No more science projects. He’s the T jack of recievers: permanant potential.

  2. Norseman66 says:

    I don’t think using a first round pick on a WR is wise. The Vikes need to address the O-line big time in the draft, and that’s who they should be drafting in the first round.

  3. 4eversteve says:

    Trying to understand the math as far as the salary cap goes,I thought the Vikings would have been much further under the cap than that especially with the releasing of McKinnie and hopefully Berrian and Tahi will be next and Leber is no longer on the books. Yes I realize that they had to sign there draft picks and rookie undrafted free agents and still try to do something in free agency and what about Favre’s 16 million that was on the books. I don’t believe they were that far over the cap. In fact the last I heard they were over by 4.5 million last season and that was taking in to account Favre salary?

    • Adam Warwas says:

      Yeah, honestly, I don’t get it either. I also did the math and came up far short of $120 million. I think part of favre’s salary might be counting on 2011’s payroll and maybe there were more cap penalties than we realized for certain moves. Honestly, not sure.

  4. B. Grant says:

    Great Viking teams have always had a stand-out receiver or two…

    John Gilliam
    Gene Washington
    Ahmad Rashad
    Sammy White
    Anthony Carter
    Chris Carter
    Randy Moss

    Don’t see one of those on this roster as of now.

  5. D. Reynaud says:

    Percy is a huge playmaker in the nfl. He’s arguably our best guy. A bigger game changer than Peterson, or close, and we have both those guys, and the tight ends. We have to win with them There’s got to be a couple wr’s out there. Or maybe Jenkins is ok.

  6. 4eversteve says:

    Other than Harvin , I don’t think teams will be intimidated by our receiving core. The priority will remain the same for same for opposing defensive coordinators, stop Peterson and you stop the Vikings. McNabb will have ample opportunity to throw the ball down field, if the O-line can keep him upright. The trouble is he doesn’t have anyone to throw it to other than Harvin and he will see his share of double teams since he will be the only threat down the field worth worrying about.

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