Other than trading wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks, the Minnesota Vikings have not made a big splash through the first two days of NFL free agency. Choosing to keep their own players rather than devote significant money to other free agents fits with general manager Rick Spielman’s philosophy, but they will have to go outside the organization to add talent to their receiving corp.
With the top tier free agent options at wide receiver largely finding homes at this point, could a former top-10 pick become an impact player for the Vikings?
The Oakland Raiders released Darrius Heyward-Bey on Tuesday after a decidedly mediocre four-year run with the team. Since being selected seventh overall in 2009, he has totaled 140 receptions and 11 touchdowns in 56 games played, though it is worth noting that 105 of those catches as well as nine touchdowns came over the last two seasons. But he was slated to make $7.72 million next season, with a salary cap hit of a little over $5.3 million, making him difficult for the Raiders to retain due to their salary cap situation.
Heyward-Bey has clearly been an underachiever to this point in his career, which was widely expected when he was drafted ahead of receivers like Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin and Hakeem Nicks four years ago. But he has shown capability as a vertical threat when healthy, and that is precisely what the Vikings need to add to their passing offense right now.
At the price point Minnesota is likely to show interest in any wide receiver, Heyward-Bey looks like a good fit. He simply will not be able to demand much from any interested team, and a one or two-year incentive-laden deal should be viable for both sides.
Brad Berreman is a contributing writer at Rant Sports.com. Follow him on Twitter @bradberreman24.