There were a lot of expectations placed on the Minnesota Vikings offense this season and a big part of that is because of pieces that were added this offseason. Running back Adrian Peterson returned after missing 15 games in 2014, and the team acquired wide receiver Mike Wallace, who was supposed to create big-play opportunities for second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.
That has not been the case, however, as Wallace’s longest reception of the season has only been for 25 yards. Not only has he not been able to produce on plays deep down the field, he has not been able to produce much at all.
So far, he has recorded 33 receptions on 60 targets for 403 yards and two touchdowns. That puts him on pace for about 41 receptions for 496 yards and two touchdowns, which would be a career lows in both yards and touchdowns – he recorded just 39 receptions his rookie season.
“Honestly, it’s very difficult to be honest,” he said of the lack of production. “But we have a goal in mind and in order to get there you have to be selfless. You can’t be out there, ‘I need the ball this play, I need the ball that play.’ You can’t do that. We have a lot of talented guys in our room who would love to get that ball. You just have to stay the course and believe in the process.”
Wallace has had a reputation of getting antsy when the offenses he was on weren’t clicking well and he was not getting many looks. There was even a case where he was benched because of an argument he reportedly had with former Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin.
When the Vikings first traded for Wallace there was a lot of speculation on how the receiver would handle things if he were not the focal point of a run-first offense. After all, he has been the focal point of offenses in the past and has gotten upset when things had not gone his way. But this stint with the Vikings has been different, and he says that he has learned from his past.
“I’ve got to remember how I get here, man,” Wallace said. “I get here by talking too much. I just got to chill and go through the process and believe in what we’re trying to get done. That’s my approach and sometimes you have to learn from previous situations and just try to get better from it. So I just try to stay the course and try to stay positive.”
Every week it seems as though someone on either the Vikings coaching staff or their offense makes a reference to the amount of playmakers they have and how there are a lot of guys who can make big plays. While that may be stretched a little as there has been a lack of big plays this season, the offense does do a nice job of spreading the ball around week in and week out.
The coaching staff is able to utilize the skill set of different players each week and Wallace understands that. He knows that there will be a different game plan each week and some may feature him more than others, but he has to remain patient because he never knows when his name will be called.
“When you practice during the week you can pretty much tell what the game plan is going to be, for the most part,” he said. “But you never know. You get into a game and coaches call plays you hadn’t practiced that week. Situations come up and different things happen and we might not have practiced this play in three weeks but now all of a sudden we’re calling it. Things can change during the course of a game, but for the most part, yeah, you can tell.”