The Minnesota Vikings have an extra first-round pick tomorrow because they traded wide receiver Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seahawks last month. Even if they still had Harvin on their team, one of their biggest needs would have still been at receiver.
While the Vikings lost Harvin, they were able to replace one receiver for another when they signed Greg Jennings from the division rival Green Bay Packers by giving him $45 million over five years with almost $18 million guaranteed. The contract could pay Jennings up to $47.5 million.
Unlike the 24-year-old Harvin, Jennings is getting long in the tooth. He will turn 30 years of age shortly after the season begins and is already showing signs of significantly slowing down. He missed almost a month with a knee injury two years ago, and he only managed half of the regular season games for the Packers this past year because of an abdominal injury that required surgery, in addition to a groin injury.
Jennings’ average yards per reception has been in steady decline since 2010, when he averaged 16.6 yards per catch. The total dropped to 14.2 in 2011, all the way to to 10.2 yards per reception this past year. This is a serious decline in production.
All players suffer a decline in their play as they get older. I am not saying that Jennings can’t average more yards per reception in 2013 than he did this past season, but the fact of the matter is that players his age are not going to consistently improve after their 30th birthday, especially when their quarterback is going from Aaron Rogers to Christian Ponder.
The Vikings also resigned Jerome Simpson shortly after the Harvin trade, but you could just as well be throwing the ball to Homer Simpson as far as I’m concerned.
Currently, the Vikings have Jennings and not much else. With Jennings missing time over the past two years, they may not even have him each week in the coming season either. With that being said, the team should seriously consider adding two receivers with each of their first-round draft picks tomorrow.
Even if the Vikings still had Harvin and were able to sign Jennings, you could still make a great argument that their first-round pick should be used on a wide receiver. There’s really no difference in wanting two receivers now instead of one if they still had Harvin and one less pick in the first-round.
I realize there are other needs on the team, but I would seriously consider a pair of receivers such as Tavon Austin and Cordarrelle Patterson if they were available with each pick the Vikings have in the first round tomorrow. Austin is a shifty burner while Patterson at provides impressive potential.
If either of those talented receivers have been taken, they aren’t the only ones with talent who could warrant being drafted when the Vikings pick. One thing fans of the Vikings know is that aside from Jennings, there is certainly a significant lack of talent currently on the roster at wide receiver, but that could all change tomorrow.