We've heard it, this season is nothing more than a rebuilding year for the Minnesota Vikings. Fresh off a dismal 3-13 season, the team's roster was riddled with holes and new general manager Rick Spielman vowed to build the team, for not only the present, but for the future as well.
Of all the key additions to the roster this season, none exceeded the age of 28 (TE John Carlson) and all have a chance to be a huge part of the team for years to come.
In my opinion though, there is one move that has seemingly slipped under the radar. The drafting of Arkansas' wide receiver Jarius Wright. It's no shock to fans that the Vikings needed to upgrade the receiver position, but that's not what makes this move so big. It's what Wright brings to the table.
Wright is 5'10" and 182 pounds. He possess skills to become a legit NFL starter at wide receiver with his speed, elusiveness, reliable hands and toughness.
His most likely position with the Vikings? Special teams and the slot receiver role.
I understand that Percy Harvin is a huge part of the offense and he is about the only weapon outside of Adrian Peterson that a defense plans for. But his off the field problems, coupled with his injury history and migraine issues, put the Vikings in a precarious situation. Harvin has already once this offseason made it clear he is upset over both his role and his current contract (one that currently has two years remaining on it) and is expecting to have a new deal before the 2013 season.
Don't get me wrong, I want the Vikings to keep Harvin. His ability to produce at an elite level both on special teams and offense are huge for Minnesota.
I get the feeling though, he is going to want an outrageous amount of money, that the Vikings just won't want to pay.
Spielman does an enormous amount of research and investigating when it comes to signing players to the roster. He looks at their history, their attitude and their production among other things, and then decides whether or not this player is a fit for the Vikings roster.
He did due diligence before signing receiver Jerome Simpson this offseason and he did the same thing when it came to drafting Wright.
When comparing both Harvin and Wright's statistics during college, there isn't much to say. Harvin's numbers jump off the page for his combined rushing and receiving yards at Florida, and he declared for the NFL draft after his junior year. But Wright was extremely productive for Arkansas, posting nearly 800 yards receiving and five touchdowns his junior year before breaking out his senior year with 1,117 yards and 12 touchdowns on 66 receptions.
The biggest difference is that Harvin has proved he can play at an elite level in the NFL, something Jarius Wright has yet to do. But if Wright can prove in his rookie year, perhaps starting in Harvin's place due to injuries or migraines, that he can play in the NFL, the Minnesota Vikings should attempt to trade Harvin after the 2012 season and before his contract expires.
Harvin wants a new deal. Give him the opportunity to produce and make his value even higher entering the final year of his rookie deal. Allow Wright to get his feet wet and adjusted to the NFL speed in his rookie year, while Harvin retains the starting role.
Trading Harvin would allow the Vikings to accumulate high draft picks that can be used to add more youth and talent to a rebuilding roster while also sparing the Vikings front office the headache of having to workout a long-term deal with a player who will most likely demand top-five receiver money.