Rick Spielman, free agent receiver Danario Alexander are perfect match


Dec 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers receiver Danario Alexander (24) is defended by Oakland Raiders cornerback Brandian Ross (29) on a 34-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman has stressed over and over again that his philosophy is to build through the draft and re-sign current players—not spend heavily in free agency.

But Spielman has shown that he is willing to take a chance on younger inexpensive players with injury concerns in free agency, such as last offseason when they signed offensive lineman Geoff Schwartz and tight end John Carlson.

Both Schwartz and Carlson were coming off somewhat serious injuries, but at the time, both players presented a low-risk high reward potential. Speaking of low-risk high reward potential, Spielman also signed receiver Jerome Simpson—a young but very talented receiver.

The team’s free agent approach last offseason confirms that Spielman does not spend big, but suggests that he will take a shot on younger options with high potential. The team needs a downfield threat at receiver, but if the team won’t spend the big cash to do so, what are the realistic options?

Enter Danario Alexander.

Everything about the Chargers’ restricted free agent wide out make sense for Spielman and the Vikings.

Alexander, 24, caught 62 passes for 658 yards and seven touchdowns for San Diego last season. At 6-5 and with a 40 time of 4.50, he was one of the most explosive receivers around the league last year, especially late in the season.

The Missouri product received a low (“original-round”) tender from San Diego. Since he was an undrafted free agent, it means the team signs him doesn’t owe the Chargers any draft pick as compensation—although San Diego would have the right to match.

One of the reasons teams may be holding back on targeting Alexander is the same reason he went undrafted in the first place. He has had some injury issues early in his career, dating all the way back to his time at Missouri.

Alexander almost makes too much sense. The Vikings could potentially sign him to a modest deal and hope he becomes the downfield threat they’ve been looking for.

Also keep an eye on free agent reciever Darrius Heyward-Bey, who like Alexander, is a young speedy wide out. Heyward-Bey was released by the Raiders Tuesday.