2008 Free Agents: Wide Receivers

The Vikings missed out on their top-targeted wide receiver in free agency last year, but this year's possibilities might have a little better top-end talent if a select few don't sign extensions with their teams before the start of free agency. We examine the Vikings' need and list the possibilities in free agency at wide receiver.

In 2007, the Vikings didn't have a top-50 receiver in the NFL. Their leading receiver, Bobby Wade, tied for 51st in the league with 54 receptions and 57th with 647 receiving yards.

Their second-leading receiver, Robert Ferguson, didn't crack the top 100 in the league. His 32 receptions – which was the second-most of his seven-year NFL career – finished 120th in the league.

With two rookie wide receivers – Sidney Rice and Aundrae Allison – in 2007 making the 53-man roster and former first-round pick Troy Williamson continuing to like a bust with dropped passes lasting through the season finale, the Vikings look like they could be in line for a serious upgrade at the position.

Last year the Vikings went hard after Kevin Curtis in free agency, widely considered one of the top three free agents available. Eventually, they signed Wade and lost Curtis to the Philadelphia Eagles despite offering him a better contract, according to head coach Brad Childress.

This year, the Vikings might not be able to afford to miss out on their top free-agent target. Their passing offense finished 28th in the league, and young quarterback Tarvaris Jackson could use another receiver who knows how to create separation and get open.

Three unrestricted free agents – Bernard Berrian of the Chicago Bears, D.J. Hackett of the Seattle Seahawks and Bryant Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals have caught the imagination of Vikings fans. While those aren't huge names – more and more teams in the NFL have begun to re-sign their top players before they hit free agency – if all of them make it to March without signing an extension with their own team, the wide receiver crop should be a little better than it was last year. Now the Vikings just need to harvest effectively in March.

We list the players scheduled for unrestricted and restricted free agency with their years of NFL service in parentheses.

UNRESTRICTED

Bryant Johnson, Arizona Cardinals (5)
Devard Darling, Baltimore Ravens (4)
Sam Aiken, Buffalo Bills (5)
Drew Carter, Carolina Panthers (4)
Keary Colbert, Carolina Panthers (4)
Bernard Berrian, Chicago Bears (4)
Antonio Chatman, Cincinnati Bengals (5)
Tim Carter, Cleveland Browns (6)
Troy Walters, Detroit Lions (8)
Andre Davis, Houston Texans (6)
Aaron Moorehead, Indianapolis Colts (5)
Ernest Wilford, Jacksonville Jaguars (4)
Eddie Drummond, Kansas City Chiefs (6)
Samie Parker, Kansas City Chiefs (4)
Robert Ferguson, Minnesota Vikings (7)
Troy Brown, New England Patriots (15)
Jabar Gaffney, New England Patriots (6)
Randy Moss, New England Patriots (10)
Terrance Copper, New Orleans Saints (4)
Devery Henderson, New Orleans Saints (4)
David Patten, New Orleans Saints (11)
Tim Dwight, Oakland Raiders (10)
D.J. Hackett, Seattle Seahawks (4)
Bryan Gilmore, San Francisco 49ers (7)
Michael Lewis, San Francisco 49ers (7)
Mark Jones, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (4)
Eric Moulds, Tennessee Titans (12)
Reche Caldwell, Washington Redskins (6)
Keenan McCardell, Washington Redskins (15)

RESTRICTED

Ahmad Merritt, Arizona Cardinals (3)
Jerheme Urban, Arizona Cardinals (3)
Rashied Davis, Chicago Bears (3)
Tab Perry, Cincinnati Bengals (3)
Jerome Mathis, Houston Texans (3)
Nate Washington, Pittsburgh Steelers (3)


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