In order for quarterback Christian Ponder to reach his full potential, the Minnesota Vikings need to make an aggressive effort to upgrade their wide receiver group. Free agency and the draft this year both bring plenty of viable options, and with general manager Rick Spielman’s philosophy of building through the draft it would not be surprising to see the Vikings use multiple picks in April on wide receivers.
But that does not mean free agency should not be an option, even if the some of the bigger names expected to hit the market (Mike Wallace, Dwayne Bowe) may be out of Minnesota’s price range. But could one of Bowe’s former teammates be a fit for the Vikings?
The Kansas City Chiefs released wide receiver Steve Breaston on Tuesday, in a move that may be part of their effort to retain Bowe. He played just 10 games last season, catching seven passes for 74 yards, as he landed in former head coach Romeo Crennel’s doghouse and was a healthy scratch multiple times. Breaston signed a five-year, $22.5 million contract with the Chiefs prior to the 2011 season, and had a solid first season in Kansas City (61 receptions for 785 yards and two touchdowns), so needless to say it was fairly inexplicable that he did not have a bigger role in 2012.
After having a minimal role as a pass receiver as a rookie in 2007, Breaston had 179 receptions for the Arizona Cardinals from 2008-2010, including a career-high 77 catches for 1,006 yards with three touchdowns in 2008.
Breaston should get some interest from multiple teams, but two teams that have been suggested as good fits for him are the San Diego Chargers and Pittsburgh Steelers. Former Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt is the new offensive coordinator in San Diego, and Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley had the same job in Arizona under Whisenhunt for a time. Haley was also Kansas City’s head coach in 2011 when Breaston was there.
There are no ties to Breaston among the Vikings current coaches, but it’s unclear how important that is to him. He should at least be a good fit in terms of finances, and at age 30 by the time the 2013 season starts the market for his services may not be broad. Breaston has expressed interest in finding a team that will give him an opportunity to play, which is no surprise after last season, and the Vikings can at least offer him that chance.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.