The Minnesota Vikings are hosting free-agent wide receiver/return man Ted Ginn, Jr. on a visit Tuesday, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press.
The Vikings eschewed the initial rush of free-agent receivers that went off the board over the last week, but Ginn would offer the Vikings another alternative in their receiving corps, even if he isn't considered a full-time starter. His real value could come as a kick and punt returner.
Ginn started his career with the Miami Dolphins, former employer of Vikings general manager Rick Spielman, and spent the first three years of his career there, starting 25 of 48 games. Those were also his most productive seasons as a receiver, as he set career highs for receptions (56), yards (790) and average (14.1) in 2008, his second season in the league.
Ginn spent the last two years with the San Francisco 49ers, who signed former Vikings receiver Randy Moss earlier this month. With the 49ers, Ginn started only three of his 27 games played and never surpassed 20 receptions or 220 yards either of the last two seasons.
His main value comes as a return man.
Last year he returned 29 kicks for 800 yards (27.6-yard average) and one touchdown. In 2010, he returned 47 kicks for 992 yards (21.1 average). That continued a trend of kick-return success in Miami, where eclipsed 1,000-yard seasons in 2009 (1,296 yards on 52 returns) and his rookie season of 2007 (1,433 yards on 63 returns). For his career, he has averaged 23.2 yards per return and has three touchdowns.
Last year, the Vikings averaged 26.9 yards on 53 kickoff returns, but Lorenzo Booker, who led the team with 19 returns, hasn't been re-signed and is a restricted free agent. Percy Harvin (32.5-yard average) and Marcus Sherel (27.8) returned 16 kickoffs each.
The 49ers also used Ginn extensively as a punt returner the last two seasons. In 2011, he returned a career-high 38 punts for 466 yards (12.3) and a touchdown. In 2010, it was 24 punt returns for 321 yards (13.4 average) and a touchdown. He has three touchdowns and an 11.2-yard average on punt returns over his five-year career.
He also has seven fumbles as a punt returner, but only one in the last two seasons over a combined 62 returns.
Last year, Marcus Sherels averaged 8.4 yards on 33 returns for the Vikings.
Tim Yotter is the publisher of Viking Update. Follow Viking Update on Twitter and discuss this topic on our message boards. To become a subscriber to the Viking Update web site or magazine, click here.
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