When word started to spread last season about Percy Harvin's discontent, questions began to fly as to why. Was it contract related? Did he not get along with his coach or quarterback? Although no one any camp went on the record to explain, Harvin was sent packing to the Puget Sound following injury riddled but productive season that saw him leading the way in all receiving categories (except touchdowns) despite missing seven games.
The team addressed the wide receiver need in both free agency and the draft. Greg Jennings came over from Green Bay and the team moved up in the first round to select Cordarrelle Patterson to help the cause. Second year Arkansas receiver Jarius Wright stepped in for Harvin catching 22 passes for 310 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The team resigned Jerome Simpson after a less than impressive first year in purple and Joe Webb has given up his red quarterback jersey for a regular one and will attempt to make the team as a wide receiver.
As the depth chart looks now, it will be Jennings and Simpson with Patterson in as the third receiver. That obviously could change if Simpson continues to fail to live up to the billing. Last year, he was targeted 52 times and caught just 26 passes with zero touchdowns. He was looked at as a down field threat to help open up the offense for Adrian Peterson and others. That never happened.
So with Jennings changing addresses in the division, the Vikings hope like other former NFC North players that he has a little something left in the tank. Coming off of an injury ravaged season, Jennings has 23 career games of more than 100 yards and has big game experience catching a pair of touchdowns in the Packers Super Bowl XLV win over Pittsburgh. With the Packers content to move in another direction, Jennings chose a division rival. At least twice a year, he'll look to burn his old team.
Patterson is the wild card. Rarely does a wide receiver come in and have an immediate impact but he is going to touch the ball a lot and will have opportunities to make plays on both offense as well as the special teams game. Patterson's proved to be multi-faceted in his final season at Tennessee. He caught 46 passes for 778 yards, scoring five touchdowns. He also rushed for three touchdowns and had two return scores as well for the Vols.
So while the team searches for a way to make up for the absence of Harvin, they may not be too far off with the stable of receivers they have put together. One of the big questions heading into camp is which receiver or combination of receivers will step up.