Monday, March 11, 2013
No indication Vikings are in on Mike Wallace
By Kevin Seifert
If the NFL's three-day negotiating period revealed anything, it was that the Minnesota Vikings aren't as excited about free agent receiver Mike Wallace as some of you have thought or hoped. Nothing that has happened so far is binding, meaning the Vikings could jump into the fray at any time, but for the moment ESPN's Adam Schefter reports that "the league-wide expectation" is Wallace will sign as early as Tuesday with the Miami Dolphins.
Sports Illustrated's Peter King, meanwhile, reported: "Miami didn't have much, if any, competition for a big-money deal" with Wallace.
Frankly, if you're surprised by this development, you haven't been paying attention. Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has repeated his team-building philosophy often in the year since he was promoted to this role: He would acquire blue-chip players via the draft and supplement the roster via free agency. At the very least, he would have been making a significant exception to pursue Wallace.
Serious involvement in those negotiations would require a commitment probably of $11 million annually or more. In the video, Schefter said Wallace will be the only player in free agency to get a deal that exceeds $10 million annually. The Vikings have the salary cap space to do it, but the ramifications would be notable. Among others, it would suggest the Vikings have no plans to extend receiver Percy Harvin's contract and would have limited leverage in subsequent trade talks.
I think we can all agree the Vikings need to upgrade their receiving corps. Pursuing Wallace is one avenue, and conceivably it could still come to fruition. But history and precedent tells us the Vikings' likeliest path was not through signing the most coveted player in free agency.