Rand: Don't count on Fitzgerald in purple

  • Updated: December 11, 2012 - 9:18 PM

Trading for Larry Fitzgerald Jr. would be fabulous, but highly problematic.

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Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald Jr.

Photo: Matt York, Associated Press

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The latest fixation of the Vikings fans is Larry Fitzgerald Jr., who happens to be playing with a crew of awful QBs in Arizona and -- at least inwardly -- can't be happy about how it is impacting his production.

He's the receiver we need! He's one of us! He used to be a ballboy for the Vikes! Let's get him in purple!

The idea of trying to complete an offseason trade for Fitzgerald, in principle, isn't without merit. He's a Hall of Fame talent, he is only 29 and he would give a listless passing attack instant juice.

But before you get too excited about the notion, we are going to quickly throw some cold water on it. Here are two reasons why it almost certainly will not happen:

1. Fitzgerald is incredibly expensive. He signed an eight-year extension last year that included a ton of guaranteed money. According to Spotrac.com, his cap hit every year between 2014 and 2017 is at least $17 million. Now, by itself, that's not a deal-breaker. There are ways to restructure things when new situations present themselves. The problem is teams very rarely pay two wide receivers huge money.

That brings us to Percy Harvin. Before his injury, the Vikings at least had a functional passing game. Without Harvin, they do not. And Harvin is looking to get paid. So if the Vikings were paying Fitzgerald huge money, they would either have to devote massive amounts of salary to both receivers or jettison Harvin. The former leaves little room for other roster moves (such as, perhaps, thinking about bringing in a veteran QB to challenge for the starting spot); the latter makes you ask how much better the passing game would really be with Fitzgerald but without Harvin.

2. Even if the money issue could be figured out, acquiring Fitzgerald almost certainly would require the Vikings to give up a boatload of draft picks -- which would go against everything GM Rick Spielman has preached when it comes to rebuilding this team. A massive trade like that would solve one big problem while potentially creating several other smaller but pesky roster holes.

In other words, it would be a tempting shortcut, but one that is highly unrealistic.

MICHAEL RAND

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