Vikings trade for receiver Wallace
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. --The Vikings have been looking for a deep-threat wide receiver since Randy Moss departed after the 2004 season. They got one Friday.
EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -The Vikings have been looking for a deep-threat wide receiver since Randy Moss departed after the 2004 season. They got one Friday.
The Vikings acquired from Miami speedster Mike Wallace, who has said his best time in the 40-yard dash is 4.21 seconds. Minnesota will send the Dolphins a 2015 fifth-round draft pick and also will get a 2015 seventh-round selection.
Wallace broke in with Pittsburgh in 2009 and had two seasons of 1,000 or more receiving yards in his first three years. But he has underachieved since signing a five-year, $60 million contract with Miami in 2013.
While the Vikings were closing the deal on Wallace, taking a recruiting visit to Winter Park was free-agent defensive end Michael Johnson. Shortly after arriving in Minnesota from his hometown of Atlanta, Johnson told the Pioneer Press he was very excited about his visit and joked about the uncharacteristically warm weather.
“It’s definitely warmer than I thought,’’ he said.
Minnesota also lost a pair of free agents Friday in middle linebacker Jasper Brinkley, who agreed to join Dallas on a two-year deal and quarterback Christian Ponder, who signed a one-year contract with Oakland. The Vikings had interest in bringing back Brinkley, a starter last season, but long ago had decided to part ways with Ponder after four seasons.
But the big news of the day was landing Wallace. Guard Brandon Fusco grew up a Steelers fan in Pittsburgh and followed Wallace closely there before Fusco joined the Vikings in 2011.
“Mike was always a fan favorite in Pittsburgh and I’m sure he’s going to be a fan favorite in Minnesota,’’ Fusco said. “It’s a great addition. I’m pumped. He’s obviously got a good reputation for being a great player. I’m happy that’s another weapon for us.’’
It’s a deep threat for quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, entering his second season. The Vikings really haven’t had one since Moss was traded 10 years ago. Moss returned briefly in 2010, but his best days were behind him.
Wallace, though, will cost the Vikings a lot of money. He’s due to make base salaries of $9.85 million in 2015 and $11.45 million in both 2016 and 2017.
Wallace, whose agent Bus Cook also represented Moss and former Vikings star quarterback Brett Favre, reportedly was not willing to renegotiate his contract. So the Dolphins looked to trade him.
Wallace had 60 catches for 1,257 yards in 2010 and 72 for 1,193 in 2011 with Pittsburgh. For the past two years with Miami, he’s had more pedestrian numbers of 73 catches for 930 yards in 2013 and 67 for 862 in 2014.
The Miami Herald, which broke news of the trade, reported Wallace spent a lot of time on the phone Friday talking with Vikings general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer. The paper reported Wallace was “not thrilled’’ with going to Minnesota.
The Vikings now hope Johnson, released Wednesday by Tampa Bay, would be thrilled to join the Vikings. He has great respect for Zimmer, his defensive coordinator in Cincinnati from 2009-13, but also is said to have interest in rejoining the Bengals.
The Pioneer Press is a media partner with the Forum News Service.