If the Minnesota Vikings’ offensive line can hold up, Teddy Bridgewater will have plenty of weapons to choose from. But which one will be the primary choice? In Turner’s world, the ideal answer is “all of the above.”
“With this set of guys, I don’t see one guy flashing unbelievable numbers, but I see a lot of guys Sunday nights looking and saying, ‘This guy, it was his turn and he was a big part of our win,’ and that makes it harder on the defense if you have multiple guys that can be that guy,” offensive coordinator Norv Turner said.
Johnson only had 31 catches last year, but he wasn’t on the roster at the start of the season and didn’t even play half the offensive snaps in any game until Week 12. As a starter this year, his reception numbers could double, if not more.
Wallace hasn’t had a 1,000-yard receiving season the last three years, but that could change with all the options the Vikings have on offense. He’s excited to be paired with a running back like Adrian Peterson so defenses can’t simply cheat back to protect against the deep passes.
“We have other things we need to do every day. We have can’t just throw long balls or see Adrian go for 80-yard runs,” Wallace said. “I’ll have to catch some curls, some out routes. Adrian will have to have 2-yard run, 3-yard runs. It will come. We have so many players that a lot of guys have to touch the ball. If you focus on those two (Wallace and Peterson), you’re going to have a problem with everyone else.”
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And then there’s Rudolph in the middle of the field. In 2012, Rudolph caught nine touchdowns and could be their primary threat in the red zone. But the last two seasons Rudolph has only been healthy enough to play in eight games each.
“We’ve got a lot of guys who’ve played and have had production and have made plays,” Turner said. “Obviously you can’t play them all, but we’re going to try to figure out what everyone does best and give them opportunities to do those things. I think you saw it last year with Jarius Wright. It took a little while for him to really get a feel for what we’re doing but once he got going, he made a lot of plays that helped us.”
The Vikings will get Peterson back for the regular season and have added Wallace, but the depth is likely to be tested at some point. That’s where last year’s experience can help for guys like Wright, Cordarrelle Patterson and Jerick McKinnon.
“Obviously without Adrian last year, that changed the whole running back outlook, so we have a lot more depth with our runners. We have more depth at tight end – right now we have four guys in there that we feel can play. We obviously have depth at receiver,” Turner said. “The area we’re extremely thin is in the offensive line. I think offensively, all of the things we’ve talked about, there’s a lot of real positives. We’ve just got to have a little luck up front.”