Pending a physical, the Minnesota Vikings have finally parted ways with embattled wide receiver Percy Harvin, but while his saga is over, it remains to be seen how the Vikings will move forward at wide receiver, a position they needed to upgrade badly even with Harvin on the roster. Minnesota now has two first round draft picks and it’s almost a certainty that they’ll spend on one a young wide receiver but the Vikings now have options when it comes to what they can do now that they’ve moved on from Percy Harvin.
1. Package Picks No. 23 and No. 25 to Trade Up and Select Cordarrelle Patterson in the Top 10.
Now that the Vikings have two first rounders to play with, they don’t have to settle for whatever wide receiver falls to them late in the first round. Cordarrelle Patterson is widely viewed as the best receiving prospect in the draft and will likely be the first or second skill player taken on day one. The Vikings need a tall, young deep threat to help open up their offense and Patterson is without a doubt someone they can turn into Randy Moss 2.0.
2. Sign Mike Wallace and/or Greg Jennings in Free Agency
The Vikings have been linked to both Wallace and Jennings but now that Harvin is gone, whoever signs with Minnesota instantly becomes the new No. 1 target for Christian Ponder. Wallace and Jennings can both benefit from playing indoors nine times a season and both have experience playing cold weather environments. If the Vikings handle things correctly, they could end up in a situation where they land Wallace, Jennings and then draft Keenan Allen with one of their two first round picks.
3. Sign New York Giants’ RFA Victor Cruz
Victor Cruz is generating a lot of buzz, so much so that NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport thinks Cruz will become one of the rare players to be picked up as a restricted free agent. The Giants are expected to slap a first round tender on Cruz which means if a team signs him, they’ll essentially be trading away their first round pick to the Giants to get him. The Vikings now have an extra first rounder, meaning if they can hash out a long term deal with Cruz, he may be heading to Minnesota to head up a new look receiving corps.
4. Draft Tavon Austin No. 23rd Overall and Keenan Allen No. 25 Overall
Tavon Austin is being called a younger, cheaper version of Percy Harvin which means if the Vikings can get him they’re going to consider it. Austin does everything Harvin did for the Vikings but he has time to develop in the current system rather than having to adapt to a new one. With Austin, the Vikings get a kick returner, a running back and a slot receiver who can run deep. Keenan Allen’s knee is an issue but he’s expected to clear up any doubts at his Pro Day on April 9th and if the Vikings can get both of them, they’ll have essentially traded Harvin for a deep threat and a younger version of himself.
Basically, the Vikings now have a ton of options now that they’ve moved Harvin and their options extend beyond the ones mentioned including mixing and matching moves as well. A lot of people will be quick to assume that No. 2 is the best option but the Vikings have demonstrated that they like to build through the draft and may not be open to tying up $10 annually into Mike Wallace.
But whatever the Vikings do, they’ve set themselves up to succeed in more ways that one. If you were the Vikings, what would you do with the newly acquired picks and the extra breathing room in the salary cap?