Go West, Old Man

In his first year since coming over from the Eagles, Brad Childress' offense was anemic in Minnesota. With free agency looming, the Eagles in disarray with Andy Reid's departure and salary cap issues, the Vikings could improve their own West Coast offense by pilfering a couple of Philly's top stars from 2006.

As the Vikings complete their free agent plan, hypothetical situations are being tossed out as possibilities. While you won't hear Brad Childress say the Vikings have a quarterback problem, fans with eyes might differ somewhat. With Brad Johnson not expected back, Chilly stated at his final press conference that the team will be willing to go into next season with Tarvaris Jackson and Brooks Bollinger as its top two quarterbacks – the third spot to be potentially designated for a "developmental" quarterback. Translation? A QB that would taken on the second day of the draft.

Rick Spielman may have other ideas, however. Spielman, who oversees the ranking of free agent players, might believe that, if the Vikings are going to run the West Coast offense Childress brought with him from Philly, the best way to accomplish the goal of incorporating the WCO to the Vikings is to get players that are well-versed in how it operates. Steve Hutchinson was familiar with the WCO from his years in Seattle and, with many believing the Vikings' two biggest needs are at quarterback and wide receiver, they could fill the short-term void with a couple of players who helped revitalize the Eagles in 2006 and make them a playoff contender.

Jeff Garcia has already been rumored to be on the Vikings' radar. After appearing with Jay Leno and saying he planned to enter free agency, one has to ask the obvious question – how did Garcia get a booking on "The Tonight Show" to begin with? That agent deserves a raise. If the Vikings are interested in bringing in Garcia, it would seem to solve one half of the offensive problem the Vikings face. The other, and quite possibly more pressing need, is at wide receiver, and the Eagles have a player that would fit the bill nicely in Donte Stallworth. While names like Drew Bennett and Kevin Curtis have been thrown out as the top wide receivers in free agency, a case can be made that Stallworth, who was a big-play No. 2 receiver for the Saints before becoming the main man for the Eagles in the post-T.O. era, could be an ideal fit.

Barring cuts of some high-priced veterans, the Eagles have very little in the way of wiggle room with the salary cap. The Vikings, on the other hand, are expected to make three or four cuts that would increase their cap room to up to $20 million in available cash. Garcia could be a short-term fix at QB, giving Jackson another year to learn the system and become more proficient in the ins and outs of the WCO. Stallworth would afford the Vikings the opportunity to have a deep threat with good hands that could stretch the offense and open up the running game for Chester Taylor et al in the backfield.

While at this point it remains pure speculation – the Vikings aren't inviting the media into Winter Park to examine their draft board – in getting personnel that is designed to fit in the WCO, the team might be better off looking in areas where it has worked before. Considering that the Eagles run an identical offense that Childress ran in Philly, it wouldn't be too far-fetched to think that Garcia and Stallworth could move west and make the most of what the Vikings have.

Last year, the Vikings defense made the jump from bottom half of the league to the top 10. The same could happen with the offense if the Vikings make the right adjustments. Childress showed a willingness to incorporate former Eagles last year with tier-2 guys like Artis Hicks and Billy McMullen. With the chance to get a couple of the key pieces that led the Eagles back to the playoffs, the Vikings offense could get a shot of adrenaline in the heart and have Vikings fans excited about the offense in 2007 – which would be a far cry from their feelings as the 2006 season ended.

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