The Vikings are expected to upgrade the receiving corps via free agency and through the draft this offseason, but there is a general belief that general manager Rick Spielman will not sign top-dollar free agents.
Apparently that is not the case.
The Vikings and Dolphins are expected to bid for free agent receiver Mike Wallace, according to Jeff Darlington of NFL.com.
Per the report, Wallace is about to “get a contract that will exceed the deals given to both Jackson and Bowe.” Bowe received a five-year $56 million contract from the Chiefs just before free agency began.
After releasing veteran wide receiver Michael Jenkins, Minnesota has only three wide receivers under contract with NFL experience: Percy Harvin, Jarius Wright and Stephen Burton. There has been speculation the Vikings may attempt to trade Harvin, but Spielman rejected the idea saying that he does not intend to trade him.
Even with a significant need at wide receiver, the idea of the Vikings giving a free agent receiver a Bowe-type of contract is not consistent with Spielman’s general philosophy since taking over as GM. Just last month, Spielman spoke about his philosophy of building through the draft.
“I’m not a real big believer in spending in free agency. We’re always going to try to build through the draft and continue to do that. Because I think that way you maintain a roster that can be competitive year in and year out. Not only on the field but also from a financial standpoint of staying within the cap and looking at the overall cash. I think you have a lot more success when you sign your own players as unrestricted free agents. Because you know them the best. And if you screw up signing one of of your own guys and he doesn’t pan out, then that’s a fault on you. I think it’s a little riskier when you go out and try to sign other team’s UFAs.”
Spielman certainly does not completely shut out the idea of spending money in free agency, but spending the amount it will take to sign Wallace would be labeled as a “risky” signing in his book.