The current fan poll on the home page of vikings.com asks “Who is most likely to lead the Vikings in catches in 2010?” As you’ve surely noticed, it’s been a very slow news week for the Vikings…so let’s examine the poll question.
Last year, Rice led the team in receptions with 83, while Harvin was 2nd with 60. Both of those players are among the 5 choices in the poll, as are Bernard Berrian, Adrian Peterson and Visanthe Shiancoe. All 5 options are legitimate choices, even Peterson when you consider A) he had a career-high 43 last year and B) he has a chance to haul in more receptions in 2010 because of Chester Taylor’s defection to the Chicago Bears. Also, consider that Peterson had just 1 fewer reception than Taylor in 2009.
Here’s a brief look at each of the 5 candidates:
Berrian – Although he played in all 16 games last year, I would suggest that Berrian was bothered periodically by nagging injuries. If you remember, he injured his leg in the preseason against Indianapolis and I’m not quite sure he completely recovered and I’m also wondering if the practice time he missed because of that injury affected his ability to develop chemistry with QB Brett Favre. If we assume Berrian makes it through training camp and the preseason injury free, perhaps Berrian will regain his 2008 form, when he led the Vikings in receiving yards, led the NFL in yards per reception and had four 100-yard receiving games.
Harvin – The 2009 AP Offensive Rookie of the Year should be considered one of the favorites to lead the team in receptions in 2010. He had 60 catches last year as a rookie and with another year under his belt you’d think his comfort in the offensive system will only grow. Also, the Vikings coaching staff now has a better idea of his skill set and how it translates to this offense, so they’ll be even better at putting him in positions to succeed. Harvin showed great hands and of course great explosion last year, but one aspect of his game that caught me by surprise was his toughness. He made catches across the middle and played with pain; those are attributes that will yield lots of production in the years ahead.
Peterson – You might be quick to dismiss Peterson’s chances of leading the team in receptions, but remember that he had only 1 fewer reception that Taylor last year and he also had a career-high 43 catches. I expect he’ll play more on 3rd downs in 2010, which means he could have more opportunities for receptions. While I’m not predicting Peterson will actually lead the team in receptions, I do think his inclusion in the poll is worthy.
Rice – Because of his catch radius and knack for making big plays, Rice quickly became a favorite target of Favre’s in 2009. Operating under the assumption that Favre returns, we must also assume Rice will remain a favorite target until opposing teams take him away. And taking Rice away is something that’s much easier said than done. Rice is my choice in this poll.
Shiancoe – If Favre returns and if opposing teams are successful at neutralizing Rice, I think Shiancoe is the next best bet to lead the Vikings in receptions. Favre loves throwing to TEs and Shiancoe has developed into a reliable and productive target in the passing game. He’s become especially lethal in the red zone, which is where he caught 80% of his receptions and 100% of his receiving TDs (11).
So what do you think – who is most likely to lead the Vikings in receptions in 2010? Go to the vikings.com home page and cast your vote.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Bernard Berrian, Percy Harvin, Sidney Rice, Visanthe Shiancoe
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 26 Comments »