I know Vikings fans are disappointed to lose WR Sidney Rice to Seattle. And believe me, the Vikings are disappointed, too. He came to the club as a second-round pick and developed into a play-making WR and fan-favorite. Rice has the potential to be a #1 WR in the NFL for a long time and he has a skill set that makes life easier for QBs and much harder on defenses.
But let’s also not overreact to his departure.
I value interacting with fans, and from that interaction I know that the prospect of losing Rice AND keeping Bernard Berrian has many of you up in arms. Before you panic, though, let’s take a look at something and let me make a case.
Here is a comparison between Berrian and Rice during their careers in Minnesota:
Berrian: 131 receptions for 1,834 yards (14.0 average) with 11 TDs in 46 games
Rice: 146 receptions for 2,129 yards (14.6 average) with 18 TDs in 48 games
Yes, Rice’s numbers are better. But are they that much better? Also consider that as great a season as Rice had in 2009 (83 receptions for 1,312 yards and 8 TDs), he had three ordinary years around that one great year. Outside of 2009, Rice has never had more than 31 receptions, 396 yards or 4 TDs in a season. Those are below average numbers. Granted, Rice’s career arc is on the way up. He could be a tremendous threat for the Seahawks for the next decade. But what about his hip? Can he stay on the field? And will Seattle have a QB capable of getting him the ball, as Brett Favre did so well in 2009?
Don’t get me wrong, I like Rice and I think he’s a good player. I also appreciate the way Seattle is building their roster and turning the franchise around; the Seahawks are going in the right direction. But I don’t think Rice is irreplaceable. As quickly as Rice left the Vikings in free agency, the Vikings could turn around and look at the market to find another player who can come in here and help the passing game excel.
Let’s take a look a few WRs who are on the market. Let us know what you think about them by leaving a comment in the comments section below this entry.
Plaxico Burress – A big end zone, red zone and 3rd-down target, Burress was a Top 5 NFL WR when he was forced out of the league for two seasons. He’s a resurrection project in that he’s coming back to the NFL after being away for a while, but he has the fortune of Tony Dungy as a mentor. And we all know by now the close relationship Vikings Head Coach Leslie Frazier shares with Dungy.
Malcom Floyd – At 6-5, 225 pounds, Floyd has the body frame and skill set to be the type of physical receiver that Rice was for the Vikings. He’s also 29 years old and entering his seventh year in the NFL, so he’s still on the upswing in terms of his career arc. Floyd could be a flourishing player if given the chance to be a top target.
Braylon Edwards – Another WR with good size at 6-3, 214 pounds. In 2007 with the Cleveland Browns, Edwards had 16 TDs. So we know he can get to the endzone. Also, he’s another guy who would come in here with a chip on his shoulder because he appears to be a castoff from the NY Jets. There’s no denying Edwards’ talent and another sneaky-good part of his game is his ability to run after the catch and break tackles.
Terrell Owens – A future Hall of Famer, Owens is on his last legs but he also has a chip on his shoulder. He’s looking to win a Super Bowl and in Minnesota he could be reunited with QB Donovan McNabb, if the Vikings complete a deal with Washington for the six-time Pro Bowl QB. In addition, Owens would also be reunited with Vikings WRs coach George Stewart, one of the best position coaches in the NFL and a coach who has worked and succeeded with Owens in the past.
James Jones – Packers QB Aaron Rodgers went on record as saying that retaining Jones should be his teams “#1 priority” in free agency. That’s nearly reason enough to go and get him. But also consider that James has good speed and is a Rick Spielman-type of free agent in that he’s coming off his rookie contract and his career arc is on the uptick.
Steve Smith (Giants) – Not sure how good a fit he’d be in Minnesota because he’s primarily a slot receiver. The Vikings have a tremendous slot receiver in Percy Harvin. But if there’s mutual interest between the Vikings and Smith, I’m sure we could find room on the field for a reliable, possession receiver with tons of experience.
Roy Williams – He underperformed in Detroit, was traded to Dallas for a high price, then underperformed in Dallas. So why is he on this list, you ask? Because I don’t want to discount the fact that now he has something to prove and he also has something that the Vikings lost when Rice went out the door – the body frame to be a good target in the end zone.
Others: Mark Clayton, Derrick Mason, Lance Moore, Randy Moss and Mike Sims-Walker
Also keep in mind: Chad Ochocinco has had a tumultuous past few seasons in Cincinnati. Is he on the way out? If so, the Vikings could consider him. He’s not a spring chicken anymore, but he’s been a productive WR for his entire career and I’m betting he’s got plenty left in the tank to be a top target for the Vikings.
Tags: Bernard Berrian, George Stewart, Leslie Frazier, Rick Spielman
Posted in All, Mike Wobschall | 452 Comments »