Vikings WR’s unheralded but not unproductive

By Krupka  |   Tuesday, May 09, 2006  |  Comments( 3 )

Minnesota Vikings
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Can you name the Minnesota Vikings' wide receivers?

If you're not a Vikings fan, the answer is most likely no.

In case you are wondering the correct answer is Koren Robinson, Marcus Robinson, Travis Taylor, and Troy Williamson, the unheralded quartet that make up the Vikings' wide receiving corps.

You could even throw tight end Jermaine Wiggins into the mix, whose physique resembles that of Ron Jeremy more than that of an NFL athlete; however, don't let that fool you. Wiggins is tremendously athletic and has caught 140 passes in the past two seasons.

The Vikings' receivers aren't the flashiest, they don't taunt, and you won't see many touchdown celebrations, a la Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson. Because of that they don't get much notoriety. That's fine with them. Day in and day out they're ready to roll, with their hard hats and lunch pails accompanying them. The stats won't blow you away, either, but that's because they are all about team goals, rather than individual performances.

Three of the Vikings' top receivers are former top 10 picks. Travis Taylor was the No. 10 overall pick by the Baltimore Ravens in 2000, a year later Koren Robinson was the No. 9 overall pick by the Seattle Seahawks. Lastly, in 2005 the Vikings used the No. 7 overall pick on Troy Williamson.

Since these three former college stars were all selected extremely high, plenty of pressure was put on them to perform from the get go. Taylor was expected to step in and become the franchise wide receiver for the quarterback-starved Ravens. It never worked out for him there because they never had a quarterback capable of getting him the ball.

Koren Robinson was unfairly dubbed the next Randy Moss. He is the most notable of the wideouts, as his problems in Seattle with alcohol abuse and dropped passes were widely reported. He has since fixed both problems en route to his Pro Bowl appearance last season.

That, of course, brings us to Troy Williamson, who was immediately compared to Randy Moss because he was essentially traded for the All-Pro in the infamous deal in February of 2005. Unfortunately for Williamson he had an inept coach (Mike Tice), who refused to play him for most of last season, stunting his development.

The only one of the big four wide receivers in Minnesota not to be drafted in the first round was Marcus Robinson. He was a fourth-round pick in the 1997 draft by the Chicago Bears. Robinson is the leader of the unit. In 1999 with the Chicago Bears, his first year as a starter, he burst onto the scene, catching 82 passes for 1,400 yards and nine touchdowns. However, injuries have slowed him down considerably since then. Still, he's the tallest receiver on the roster at 6-3, and has tremendous leaping ability. Last season, he became quarterback Brad Johnson's favorite target in the red zone.

The upcoming 2006 season provides the perfect opportunity for the four wideouts and tight end to showcase their skills. The new West Coast offense, installed by head coach Brad Childress, is tailored perfectly to their styles. Williamson can burn a defense deep; Taylor has excellent hands and runs great routes; Marcus Robinson has the height and leaping ability for the red zone, while Koren Robinson is the most physically gifted of them all and is truly a force to be reckoned with as the number 1 receiver. This leaves the middle wide open for Wiggins, who has thrived with the Vikings the past two seasons, becoming a sure-handed, consistent receiving threat.

When former Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper succumbed to injury last season, Brad Johnson stepped in and did an exceptional job. He developed a good rapport with all the receivers, which should only get stronger with him now being the starter all through training camp and the preseason.

This season, the group still might not make a name for themselves, but quietly, they will continue to win games for the Minnesota Vikings.

And after all, that's what truly matters.

Eric Krupka can be reached at ekrupka@realfootball365.com
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CommentsComments: 3  |  Sign Up  View all comments
No.1
Joel Kedrowski
11:05 AM
05/09/2006
Frankly, I was surprised that so many Viking fans got upset over Culpepper having left. We have a fine PROVEN quarterback leading...
No.2
Don Eger
01:46 PM
05/12/2006
Woudn't it be great if our new ol from Philly would turn out to be a gem. Marcus Johnson would have another year to learn a very...
No.3
Keron Warner
11:52 AM
05/20/2006
Recievers rarely come straight out of college produce big in the NFL. After a year of learning I think Troy Williamson will...
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