Even with their recent signing of Greg Jennings, the Minnesota Vikings still need help at the wide receiver spot.
As of right now, their only serviceable options behind Jennings are Jerome Simpson, who was a total free agency bust in 2012, and Jarius Wright, who has potential but is still extremely raw as an NFL receiver.
Even with plenty of draft picks available to address the position in April, the Vikings would be wise to pursue another veteran who has experience in the league. One option could be Ramses Barden, formerly of the New York Giants.
Although Barden has yet to show the type of consistent production that you want out of an NFL wide receiver, the physical tools are there for him to develop into a contributor. Measuring in at 6’6’’, 224 pounds, Barden brings a big frame and terrific length to the table. While his timed speed isn’t going to blow anyone away, Barden plays fast and uses his body to create mismatches.
Throughout his four-year NFL career, Barden has amassed 394 yards on 29 catches while failing to find the end zone. A part of that lack of production can be attributed to being buried on a talented Giants wide receiver depth chart that included Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon.
Hailing from Cal Poly SLO, Barden was expected to be a bit of a project upon entering the NFL. He was extremely raw coming out of college, and is still rough around the edges in terms of technique. The Giants may have chosen to move on from the unpolished product, but the Vikings could benefit from their short-sightedness and find themselves with a young, promising wide receiver.
If the Vikings want former first-round pick Christian Ponder to unlock his potential as a franchise quarterback, they need to surround him with as many weapons as possible.
Signing Barden might not be a homerun, but it’s the type of underrated move that gets teams that much closer to becoming legitimate contenders.