It's no secret that the Minnesota Vikings are in the market for a quality wide receiver who can spread the field. Nor is it a secret that such a commodity is in scarce supply in the NFL.
But the latter doesn't necessarily mean that the Vikings' search cannot bare fruit. It just depends on what kind of fruit and with what types of bruises the Vikings are willing to accept the few receivers that are or could become available at this time of year.
Yesterday, the Vikings shared in glimpsing what could become one of the most remarkable transformations of a team's in-season receiving fortunes when Oakland Raider Randy Moss expressed his dissatisfaction with the leadership of the Raiders and intimated his desire to be traded. That, combined with Jerry Porter's weekly status as inactive, and the trade of Doug Gabriel to New England, officially signals the end of a Raiders' receiving corps that looked as deep as any in the league entering the season.
And that could work to the Vikings' advantage--or disadvantage--if the Vikings elect to jump into what is certain to be modest bidding for two receivers that have fallen out of favor in the Bay area--Moss and Porter.
When reports first surfaced that the Raiders were shopping Porter, the 2006 season had not yet begun, Porter was still a functioning member of the team, and Oakland was looking for a first-round pick and a starter for Porter. Wisely, there were no buyers.
After de-activating Porter for each of the Raiders' games this season, the Raiders reportedly have modified their asking price for their former star wide-out. That means that the Raiders are now virtually willing to pay a team to take Porter and whatever remains of his current contract off their hands. Surely, the asking price can be no higher than a third- or fourth-round pick at this point, and a fifth-round swap would seem fair.
Because Moss remains on the active roster and starts as the only capable wide receiver on a team without a running back or a quarterback and with a coach stuck on Ground Hog's day, the Raiders would like to think that Moss would fetch a higher price than would Porter. But Moss' history of being a malcontent in the face of adversity, his disrespect for his coaches, and his high contract terms greatly reduce Moss' market value--no matter his continued physical ability.
Enter Minnesota. With the Vikings struggling to stretch the field, the fans restless for a semblance of an offense, many other fans unwilling to attend games featuring a battle of field-goal kickers and missed opportunities with no hope of burning the opponent, the Vikings' front office faces a quandry. Does it draw a new, perhaps different kind of line in the sand regarding team morals and make a play for both Porter and Moss or does it resign itself to what it has now--a bunch of receivers who cannot catch the ball?
Porter and Moss no doubt would provide some fireworks on the field and reintroduce the catch to the Vikings' football lexicon. But are the fireworks behind the scenes, on the sidelines, and off the field worth the return? That depends on what the Vikings expect on the field this year and at the box office.
Up Next: Meow Redux. Plus, lying numbers.