While the Vikings organization figures out how to handle their relationship with Koren Robinson that includes the strong possibility of parting ways, left in the wake is the shuffling of the depth chart at wide receiver.
Robinson's 22 catches for 341 yards and a touchdown last year on the surface seem replaceable, but of course the Vikings had big plans for him to be the team's top receiver for the full season, a far cry from his role last year with the team when he spent much of the season as the fourth or fifth receiver. He also earned his first Pro Bowl trip as a kick returner; he led the NFC with a 26.0-yard average on kick returns.
With Robinson out, that leaves Travis Taylor and Troy Williamson as the Vikings starting receivers. Marcus Robinson is third on the depth chart and Billy McMullen is fourth. Kevin Kasper, Chris Jones, Aaron Hosack and others are left in the heap fighting for what could be the fifth and final receiver spot on the roster.
There is a list of recognizable receivers who are still free agents that the Vikings could consider or they could make a trade for another more established receiver. Early rumors included Ashlie Lelie from Denver, Deion Branch from New England, and Jerry Porter of Oakland, who did not play last weekend against the Vikings.
Head coach Brad Childress said Wednesday morning he hadn't talked with vice president of player personnel Rick Spielman about trading for a receiver. "No, we have not because this obviously was a late-last night event," Spielman said. "Other than the fact that we have a bunch of guys working out, we'll continue to roll people through here. There's not a rush to replace him or anything like that."
Head coach Brad Childress appeared even more sober than normal Tuesday in training camp. He confirmed Taylor and Williamson as the team's top two receivers. "In some instances it would, in different personnel packages," Childress said, when asked if Robinson's arrest meant Taylor and Williamson were No. 1 and 2.
Childress wouldn't tip his hand regarding whether or not the team will look outside the organization for help at receiver.
"We'll look at that," he said. "We just need to make sure that we have enough viable guys to keep on that final 53 -- and they could be within this group – and they may be outside. We have three preseason games to follow that real closely.
With the Vikings employing a West Coast style offense, five receivers would be enough on game day. "Usually, you have five guys on the roster, depending on what the personnel is, the injuries, and how many guys you have active," offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell said. "But you usually keep five."
A sobering thought: Just two years ago, the Vikings' top two receivers were Nate Burleson and Randy Moss. In 2004, they combined for 117 catches, 1,772 yards and 22 touchdowns. Moss, of course, is now with Oakland, and Burleson is with Seattle.
Wide Receiver Depth Being Tested
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