Coaching aside, the Minnesota Vikings' greatest weakness in 2010 most assuredly is the lack of presence of an even remotely palpable downfield receiving threat. When not suffering from the effects of migraines, Percy Harvin can do some things in the slot and Visanthe Shiancoe has become one of the better receiving tight ends in the league--as have most Brett Favre paired tight ends. After that, however, the conversation essentially ends.
On Monday, the Vikings traded back-up defensive end Jayme Mitchell to the Cleveland Browns for what essentially amounts to an open roster spot. There were hints that that spot would go to an offensive lineman, but from where the Vikings would conjure such a player is anyone's best guess.
The better guess is that the Vikings cleared a roster spot on Monday to accommodate what many inside the NFL believe to be a better than odds on bet of a Randy Moss return to Minnesota. The rumored deal, sealed but for Minnesota's ability to yet work out a long-term deal with the disgruntled New England Patriots' wide receiver, could be prong one of a three-pronged revamping of Minnesota's purported wide-receiving corps.
With Moss in the fold, the Vikings suddenly would have a deep threat that neither Greg Lewis, Greg Camarillo, nor Bernard Berrian can provide, a slot receiver in Harvin that could focus on running slants and coming out of the backfield rather than speeding down the field on every other down, and a mid-field receiving threat in Shiancoe against whom opposing teams no longer could play double-coverage.
Moss' addition to the Vikings would immediately put the Vikings back in one of the league's more enviable positions. Adding a healthy Sidney Rice later in the season would only improve that position. And adding Vincent Jackson, at what should now be no more than a third- or fourth-round pick in next year's draft, would be the crowning addition.
Surely, despite head coach Brad Childress' seeming protestations to the contrary when the team traded their only legitimate punt- and kick-returner, Darius Reynaud, to the New York Giants as part of a horribly conceived "package" deal with Sage Rosenfels, the Vikings have roster space to clear to permit the team to add one, two, three, or even four receivers. For every receiver that joins the team, one receiver need only leave.
Even more delicious than the prospect of the Vikings' adding Moss to the roster this season, is the prospect of Moss joining the roster of a team lorded over by Childress. Already at odds with his starting quarterback, it would be a matter not of weeks, but of hours, before Moss and Childress butted heads. Like his run-ins with Favre, Childress would be forced to grin and bear it. And if that's not delicious enough food for fodder, imagine a Childress-led 2011 team with Moss at receiver, catching passes from nobody. Nummy.
Up Next: Making Use of Players.