The Minnesota Vikings are clearly in the market for wide receivers this offseason, and free agency as well as April’s draft should bring some new weapons to the team. Could someone that is in line to be available, but has a fairly significant injury history, be on the Vikings’ radar?
The Indianapolis Colts will reportedly not look to re-sign pending free agent wide receiver Austin Collie. He missed the first two games of last season due to concussion issues, and then his season came to an end after suffering a ruptured patella tendon in his right knee during his one and only game in Week 3. Collie’s status for the start of the 2013 season is still in doubt at this point due to the knee issue, but he also suffered four concussions in less than two years prior to that injury.
Collie has proven to be a productive player when healthy, with 172 receptions and 16 touchdowns over his first three NFL seasons. Having a healthy Peyton Manning as his quarterback during his first two seasons certainly helped things, but he did have 54 catches in 2011 despite catching passes from a cavalcade of mediocre Colts’ quarterbacks.
Collie may garner some interest from the Denver Broncos, where he would reunite with Manning, but if they don’t have any interest it’s unclear where he might land. Concerns over his health will surely limit the market for his services, and any interested team’s medical staff will definitely put him through a battery of tests.
Collie will be a fairly high-risk free agent signing no matter how the recovery from his knee injury progresses, but it is not likely to take a lot of guaranteed money to bring him aboard. I think the Vikings should at least kick the tires here, see how Collie checks out medically and be prepared to make an incentive-laden contract offer if a fit can be found.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.