With a 6-4 record and their bye week on the slate this week, the Minnesota Vikings remain a contender in the NFC playoff race and if they can successfully navigate a tough late-season schedule a postseason berth is not out of the question. Regardless of the end result this season, there are still many areas to address on the roster heading into 2013 if the Vikings hope to build on the progress of 2012.
Wide receiver looks to be the most glaring area of need, with Percy Harvin serving as the only difference making talent at that position on the current roster. Next April’s draft will provide an opportunity to bring aboard a talented receiver, and free agency will provide more chances to address the need as well.
The trade market is not traditionally very active in the NFL, but occasionally trades involving notable names occur if one team is looking to unload veterans and accumulate draft picks. The Philadelphia Eagles may fit that bill once this season is over, as the job status of head coach Andy Reid is a big question. The team also looks unlikely to retain quarterback Michael Vick beyond this season barring something unforeseen, since they can get out from under his big contract unscathed if they choose to cut him after this year’s Super Bowl. So a much younger Eagles’ roster with a new coach for 2013 is not out of the question.
One notable veteran the Eagles may be willing to make available is wide receiver Jeremy Maclin. Could he be a good fit for the Vikings?
Maclin is in his fourth NFL season, all with Philadelphia, and has 36 receptions for 449 yards and four touchdowns in eight games this season. He has again been bothered by injuries this season, with a hip issue early in the season and he emerged from last week’s game with a back injury that looks unlikely to cause him to miss any games right now. But he has only played all 16 games once in his career (and won’t this season) and his relatively slight frame (6’0″, 198 lbs.) may make his durability an ongoing concern. Not coincidentally, Maclin’s best season came in 2010 (70 receptions, 964 yards, 10 touchdowns) when he played all 16 games.
2013 will be the final season of Maclin’s rookie contract, and he is due to make $2.85 million next season. Philadelphia may be hesitant to commit big money to another wide receiver since they signed DeSean Jackson to a five-year, $47 million deal last off-season, so it would not be too surprising to see Maclin made available if talks of a contract extension go nowhere or simply never start.
Maclin would be the vertical threat the Vikings need at wide receiver, and he would be a nice complement to Harvin in the slot and Minnesota’s prolific running game led by running back Adrian Peterson. The financial risk is not huge for 2013, though it can be assumed Maclin would want a contract extension from a new team at some point. But it would be practical for both sides to see if Maclin has a productive and fully healthy season next year, and if the price gets too high for Minnesota they can just let him test the free agent market.
If the Eagles are willing to trade Maclin for a middle-round draft pick, I think Vikings’ general manager Rick Spielman should be on the phone with Eagles’ general manager Howie Roseman immediately to make an offer. It is worth noting that Maclin is only 24 years old (25 on May 11, 2013), so he is young enough to fit with the tilt toward younger players the Vikings’ roster has taken over the last couple years. A solid recent draft record may make Spielman hesitant to part with a draft pick of any sort, but adding a potential long-term piece for what would be a bargain price is a worthy investment if a trade can be worked out.