Vikings wide receiver Devin Aromashodu

Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune file

Frazier still covets a speedy receiver

  • Article by: DAN WIEDERER
  • Star Tribune
  • March 28, 2012 - 11:07 PM

WEST PALM BEACH, FLA. - The Vikings have made only one offseason move with their receiving corps -- last week's re-signing of Devin Aromashodu, who coach Leslie Frazier said had a few bigger money offers from other teams before opting to return.

But Aromashodu, at his best, still projects as a complementary player more than a headliner. So the Vikings' quest to find a true difference-making vertical threat for quarterback Christian Ponder continues.

"That would help our offense tremendously to have that one go-to guy down the field, that you know can outrun a coverage," Frazier said Wednesday morning from the owners meetings. "We've faced so many eight-man fronts because of Adrian [Peterson] in the past. So to have that one guy who can stretch that other team vertically, it would open up things for Adrian, it would open up things for Percy [Harvin]."

Frazier said the Vikings had to frequently move Harvin around last season due to double-teams that came his way. Adding a true vertical threat would help loosen that up, as well as preventing opposing safeties from stalking into the box to defend the running attack.

What's more, with a pair of talented pass-catching tight ends in Kyle Rudolph and John Carlson, the Vikings hope they can open up the middle of the field by putting stress on opposing defenses on the perimeter. That, of course, can only be accomplished with a dynamic outside receiver, a request Frazier continues to highlight.

"Our offense can be so much more explosive," he said. "Hopefully, through the draft, we'll find that guy."

Eighteen games?

In his closing press conference Wednesday, commissioner Roger Goodell indicated that debate on an expanded 18-game regular season schedule could resume later this fall or early next year. After last season's lockout, the league wants to examine how safety-related changes to the collective bargaining agreement impact the game before continuing discussion on the 18-game possibility.

Said Goodell: "We're going to have to get through this offseason cycle and try to see what the negotiated offseason cycle is like -- the impact it has on the game, the impact it has on the individual players. And then we'll sit down and probably be discussing it."

Changes on the way

Of the five new rule changes adopted Wednesday, the most notable will bring postseason overtime rules into the regular season with each team given an opportunity to possess the ball. Unless, of course, as happened with the only overtime game last season, the team that gets the ball first scores a touchdown on its opening possession. That triggers a sudden-death end.

The other significant change made to the 2012 rules will subject all turnovers to automatic instant replay review, not requiring coaches to throw a challenge flag.

A related proposal to put the verdict of all replay decisions exclusively in the hands of the booth official was voted down.

Drawing a line

The Vikings likely aren't done adding pieces to their offensive line. But asked Wednesday to provide the top line of his current depth chart, Frazier said his starting five would include Charlie Johnson at left tackle, Phil Loadholt at right tackle, John Sullivan at center, and Brandon Fusco and Chris DeGeare at guard. Geoff Schwartz also could be in the mix at guard.

DeGeare's mention was a bit of surprise, especially over Joe Berger. After all, DeGeare, a fifth-round pick in 2010, spent all of last season on the practice squad.

Frazier believes DeGeare's development was stunted somewhat by last year's lockout and the coaching staff's inability to keep him on task. DeGeare ultimately arrived at training camp last summer heavier and less flexible than the Vikings wanted.

"That lockout hurt a lot of guys," Frazier said. "Especially guys with weight issues. And it hurt him. ... Chris knows what last offseason did to him. It cost him. It cost him dearly."

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