With Greg Childs going down for the season the Vikings have to weigh all options to fill his void and find a field stretching wide receiver. Looking at the free agent market the best available names are Mike Williams, Plaxico Burress, Mark Clayton and Roy Williams. All of those names are older that simply don’t fit in with the Vikings vision of building for later years. Plus none of them are good at creating separation from defenders with the Vikings already having that on the roster in Michael Jenkins. Scanning down the list the names of Terrell Owens and Bernard Berrian are available. No thanks.
Moving on though the one team worth monitoring is none other than the Green Bay Packers. Head coach Mike McCarthy has alluded to keeping as many as six wide receivers, but they have a glut of capable targets and not everyone will make the team. Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are locks to make it. There was some suspicion that Donald Driver would not be brought back, however he is a respected teammate who recently restructured his contract making him nearly impossible to be cut. Behind Driver leaves the names of James Jones, Tori Gurley, Diondre Borel, Shaky Smithson, Jarrett Boykin and Dale Moss. The Packers are supposedly high on young Gurley and Borel. As most remember, Vikings general manager Rick Spielman tried to pry Gurley away from the Packers practice squad towards the end of last season only to have Gurley get a raise from Ted Thompson with a shot at making the team for the 2012 season. Gurley has bulked his 6’4” frame up to 232 pounds and has been one of Aaron Rodgers favorite red zone targets in practice. Borel is smaller at 6’0” & 199 lbs, but is a savvy route runner and is capable of playing special teams which you look for in backup wide receivers. If Gurley or Borel fail to make the Packers, they’ll likely get calls (plural) from NFL teams and find their way onto an active roster to begin the season.
This leads us back to James Jones. When the lockout ended last offseason the Vikings were ultra close to signing Jones per Jason Wilde of ESPN 540 to the point Jones’ Wikipedia was altered showing him as a member of the Vikings. He finished last season with 38 receptions for 635 yards and 7 touchdowns in limited snaps. Jones is easily the leagues best 4th wide receiver and could probably be had now for late round pick. It’s highly unlikely the Packers would trade him within the division. Then again, both general managers in Thompson and Spielman have to weigh all options knowing they’re only allowed 53 players on their active roster with a season soon to be played.
Jon Merckle may be followed on Twitter @thevikingpig