When the Minnesota Vikings acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace from the Miami Dolphins prior to the 2015 NFL season, they thought they were adding the perfect weapon for developing quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
Unfortunately, things just never came to fruition for Wallace in Minnesota. He was targeted just 72 times, tallying a substandard 39 receptions for 473 yards and two TDs (which were all career lows). Put simply, his first (and what turned out to be only) campaign with the Vikings was nothing short of a disaster.
Naturally, the Vikings released Wallace earlier this month, as there was no sense in paying him a boatload of money in hopes of a different outcome in 2016.
However, Wallace landed on his feet with the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday, inking a two-year deal worth $11.5 million.
Wallace subsequently took a number of parting shots at Bridgewater, seemingly blaming the young quarterback for his forgettable showing.
“When this process started, I knew that I wasn’t going back to Minnesota,” Wallace said, according to the Baltimore Sun. “I was like, ‘I need a good quarterback.’ I need a quarterback who I know is proven and can get things done.”
Wallace wasn’t done there.
Wallace: “You have a quarterback that can really sling the ball. That’s what I need.”
— Jeff Zrebiec (@jeffzrebiecsun) March 15, 2016
While he undoubtedly didn’t go about this the right way, Wallace’s point is valid. Bridgewater has been borderline incapable of getting the ball downfield on intermediate and deep routes. Sure, wide receiver Stefon Diggs flourished at times as a rookie in 2015, but he did so mainly by making plays with his legs after the catch.
Minnesota’s offense exhibited a run-first mentality with Adrian Peterson back with the team, but his sensational effort wasn’t enough to help Bridgewater develop into anything more than a game-manager in 2015. The Vikings’ stout defense and efficient run attack essentially carried the team to the playoffs despite Bridgewater’s inadequacies.
With Baltimore, Wallace appears to have landed in the perfect situation. Quarterback Joe Flacco loves to air it out and has a knack for throwing it deep. Wallace is the ideal player to fill the role Torrey Smith used to play in the Ravens’ offense, which they sorely missed in 2015 after he departed to join the San Francisco 49ers in free agency.