When Will WR Situation Be Fixed?

One of the keys to Vikings offensive success in 2003 will be predicated on taking constant double-teams off Randy Moss. The question -- as it has been since Cris Carter left -- if who will do it?

In recent electronic correspondence with other fingers on the NFL pulse, one question that has been been pondered concerns the Vikings wide receiver situation. While the team has made moves in that regard -- a thusfar unsuccessful attempt to replace Cris Carter -- VU has been hearing that the Vikings may go short-term in terms of an immediate fix.

With players like Oronde Gadsden and Antonio Freeman already available and J.J. Stokes available as early as today, it's not like there isn't a potential for a one-year fix at wide receiver. The question is whether the Vikes believe there is a need for a veteran to come in short-term.

As it stands, there are 11 wide receivers on the roster. Moss is a given. Beyond that, all bets are off. D'Wayne Bates and rookie Nate Burleson appear safe. Despite many rational reasons to say otherwise, Derrick Alexander looks to have a spot as well -- barring another fall from grace like he had last year. That's four. The rest are up for grabs.

Of the 11, veteran Chris Walsh isn't currently included -- although he could eventually become a possibility. The others include second-year man Kelly Campbell, who likely showed enough last year to hang on, and Cedric James, who could be one more injury away from being a historical footnote. Throw in Kenny Clark, who has been on and off the squad, and Nick Davis, who listed on the team website as kick returner instead of a wide receiver, and you have two more "rent don't own" candidates.

Beyond that, you have unprovens like Keenan Howry, Jermaine Mays and Ben Nelson -- three players whose NFL dreams are in the hands more of fate than anything else.

With the Vikings having high hopes -- both short-term and long-term -- the word we're hearing is that they will likely inquire about a veteran receiver to fill a role with the team. While they will not overspend, at this point, desperation on their part may take precedence. It was hoped Alexander would have already filled the Cris Carter void. He hasn't. Any new signing may in all likelihood take his roster spot. While nothing is certain, the Vikes have the available cap room to make a sweet offer to any WR they choose to go with.

* A couple of years ago, the Vikings came very close to swinging a deal for Ravens DE Michael McCrary. It looks like a situation that was better un-done. McCrary, according to a Ravens source of VU's, is likely to announce his retirement within the next week or two.
* The Bucs Super Bowl celebrating took a hit last weekend when RB Michael Pittman was arrested for ramming the car of his wife with his Hummer in Phoenix. The most troubling aspect of this story is that not only was Pittman's wife in the car, but his young son and the family babysitter. At this point, it's unclear what sort of legal challenges he faces, but a Bucs source of VU's has been told that it could easily spell the end of his days with the Buccaneers.

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