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Bleacher Report – Vikings

Vikings GM: Height not necessarily a need at wide receiver

By Andrew Krammer

INDIANAPOLIS — Not all height is created equal.

Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and the team’s personnel department will keep that in mind this week as they evaluate wide receiver prospects at the NFL scouting combine. Ole Miss’ 6-foot-3 receiver Laquon Treadwell and TCU’s 6-foot-4 receiver Josh Doctson have been popular mock draft options for the Vikings at No. 23 overall. The assumption is quarterback Teddy Bridgewater needs a bigger target after his downfield throws were hit and miss last season, his first full campaign as a starter.

“I think we have size at wide receiver,” Spielman told a few reporters Wednesday morning from the team’s hotel in Indianapolis. “We have a couple small guys, we have a couple big guys. We’re never going to box us into ‘we need a big receiver [or] we need a small receiver in this draft.’ There are different flavors.”

To know what flavor they want, the Vikings have to know what they have.

After a physical defense carried the Vikings to a NFC North title, offense is their focus this week at the scouting combine. Every contributing receiver from last season is under contract in 2016, including high-priced veteran Mike Wallace. Though they’re looking for help after ranking 29th in explosive pass plays (41 of 20-plus yards) and 30th in touchdown catches (14).

And last year’s snap leader, Wallace, has a big target on his back in the form of an $11.5 million cap hit for next season, none guaranteed. Should the Vikings part ways, they’ll be looking to replace a starter. They have a pair of tall in-house options, as Spielman referenced, though both rode the bench last season. Fourth-year receivers Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson, both 6-foot-2, are the Vikings’ tallest options from last year’s active roster. They combined for just 11 receptions, including Johnson’s 35-yard grab in Chicago to set up the game-winning field goal.

They look beyond height when evaluating this draft class for receiver help, Spielman said, adding that alone can be misleading.

“There are small receivers who can really fly, who can make big plays down the field and play bigger than their size,” Spielman said. “There are big receivers who play small to their size. It’s just, you know, you don’t just look at ‘Well that guy’s 6-2, so he’s a size guy.’ Some guys 5-10 play bigger than that guy who is 6-2.”

Last year’s fifth-round pick, Stefon Diggs, is one example. Diggs is only listed at 6-foot, but measured out with a 31 1/4-inch arm length and 10-inch hands at last year’s combine. Patterson, two inches taller, only had 1/2 inch-longer arms than Diggs and measured with 9-inch hands.

Diggs led the Vikings with 52 receptions for 720 yards in 14 games.

“[Diggs] has a big catch radius,” Spielman said. “That’s an example. He’s not a 6-2, 6-3 receiver, but he’s got a big catching radius. Are you labeling him as a big receiver or a small receiver? To me you don’t label guys like that, you label them as football players.”

The post Vikings GM: Height not necessarily a need at wide receiver appeared first on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.

Source:: 1500 ESPN Sportswire

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