On Friday, the Vikings made a move purportedly intended to bolster their receiving corps when they signed disgruntled, former Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver Todd Pinkston. Even for a coaching staff quickly and assuredly establishing itself as one more likely to gamble on a former underling than on some other, possibly more polished or skilled player, the move was curious in several respects.
At first blush, the Vikings' signing of Pinkston is strange because it comes on the heals of the Eagles' determination that Pinkston was no longer healthy enough to play in the NFL. The Eagles, already strapped for receivers wanted very badly to believe that Pinkston had returned to his pre-injury serviceable receiver form. This week, they determined that he had not.
On Friday, Vikings' doctors cleared Pinkston. The trouble, of course, is that the Vikings had no opportunity to watch Pinkston play in a game. Even now, new Vikings' personnel man, Rick Spielman--a story for another day--is laying the ground work for his response to any fallout if and when the Vikings decide that Pinkston really is not ready to go.
In addition to Pinkston's injury, there is the curious issue about why, precisely, the Vikings signed Pinkston. The general suggestion throughout mainstream media upon the Vikings' signing of Pinkston was that the Vikings were in need of receivers. That, to a degree, is true given that the Vikings have no bona fide number one receiver currently on their roster. But that fails to explain the signing of a bona fide number three or four receiver, as is Pinkston.
In an attempt to clear up this mystery, Spielman offered an explanation for the signing stating that the Vikings wanted a deep threat to spread the field. That explanation not only added to the mystery of the hobbled Pinkston's signing but further called into question Spielman's credentials as a talent evaluator--a question that has been raised at every stop of his suspect NFL managerial career.
Even if one were to buy that Pinkston has some juice left in the tank, there is little reason to believe that he fits in with Minnesota. He is not particularly tall, fast, or gifted, he has a history of playing below his own talent level, and, to the extent that he does perform, his performance is akin to that of Marcus Robinson--a healthier, more productive version of Pinkston in 2006.
Spielman appears already ready to admit that the Vikings' signing of Pinkston makes little sense as he has hinted that Pinkston's deal is contingent upon not how Pinkston performs in the first few games of the season, but how Pinkston performs in practice next Monday. That doesn't sound like a very significant vote of confidence. And that, added to everything else, makes one wonder why the Vikings even bothered signing Pinkston, particularly if it makes attracting a more legitimate free agent receiver more difficult over this critical free agent weekend.
Up Next: Players available to fill the Vikings' needs at linebacker, cornerback, safety, and receiver.