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Vikings' interest in Ted Ginn likely because of special teams

  • Blog Post by:
  • March 20, 2012 - 1:15 PM

An NFL source has confirmed that receiver Ted Ginn Jr. is spending today at Winter Park on a free agent visit with the Vikings. Hey, for fans who have to this point been frustrated by a free agency period that has been all too quiet and nondescript in the Twin Cities, at least Ginn is a recognizable name. And maybe the Vikings can negotiate a role and a price tag that is to the liking of both sides.

But if you're expecting Ginn to be a major catalyst for the Vikings' offense, then perhaps you haven't followed the first five years of his NFL career all that closely. Since being drafted by Miami with the No. 9 pick in 2007, Ginn has played in 75 games and has totaled 159 catches for 2,047 yards with 26 touchdowns. That equates to a per-game average of two receptions for 27 yards.

Last season with San Francisco, Ginn had 19 catches for 220 yards. He's had  only seven career games in which he's had at least 60 receiving yards during his career, the last coming in Week 16 of 2009.

But Ginn is also a major threat as a return man. And that's a big deal for the Vikings. Ginn has had six career return touchdowns, three on kickoffs and three on punts. Last season, he averaged 27.6 yards on kickoff returns.

And his best day came in the 2011 season opener when he had a kickoff return touchdown and a punt return touchdown in the final 4 minutes of the fourth quarter to seal a 33-17 San Francisco win over Seattle. Here's that footage ...

Keep in mind, the Vikings would love to add some help in the return game if possible. Last season, a rotation of Percy Harvin, Lorenzo Booker and Marcus Sherels was used on kickoffs. Sherels handled punt returns exclusively.

But Booker is a free agent and will likely not be re-signed by the Vikings. And as much as the fan base may clamor to see the explosive Harvin involved on kickoff returns more often, the coaching staff is afraid of the risks that come with that -- especially with Adrian Peterson's healthy return in 2012 no certainty.

Behind Peterson, Harvin is the Vikings' most valuable offensive weapon. And there is a very real fear that too many kickoff collisions could significantly limit Harvin's durability. Let's face it: the Vikings can ill afford an offensive scenario in which they are without both Peterson and Harvin for long stretches or where both players are hampered by injury.

So if in Ginn, the Vikings see an explosive return man who also has value as a receiver, perhaps it's worth rolling the dice. Just don't think that Ginn will be relied on to become a top-tier playmaker on offense.

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