Tag Archives: Cris Carter

In Case Of Emergency, Break Glass, Hire A Packer

After the controversial trade of trouble-making wideout Percy Harvin to the Seattle Seachickens, things must have been getting tense at 9520 Viking Drive. Shortly after the Harvin trade, the Vikings brain trust watched available wide receivers Danny Amendola, Wes Welker, Brandon Gibson, and Anquan Boldin sign with or get traded to other teams. Prior to Friday, the Vikings number one wide receiver was Jerome Simpson. Yes, THAT Jerome Simpson. He of 26 receptions on 52 targets fame. Yikes.

On Friday night, the Minnesota Vikings announced that they agreed to terms with former Packer wide receiver, Greg Jennings. Across Minnesota, a collective sigh of relief could be heard.

Jennings is the perfect fit for the Vikings offense. Sure, he is a little old for a wide receiver, he has knocked out 29  birthdays to date, but he still possesses the qualities, great route running and steady hands, that the Vikings receiver corps has been missing since Cris Carter hung up his cleats and started whining talking professionally for ESPN.
Jennings is great route runner with steady hands in the mold of Cris Carter.

Jennings is great route runner with steady hands in the mold of Cris Carter.

And I know what you are thinking, wait a minute, Cris Carter?!? Are you forgetting about Troy Williamso…errrrr…Randy Moss. No. Moss was a great wide receiver, but he just flew down the field and took the ball away from opposing defensive backs with his other-worldly athleticism. Jennings is precise. He uses his route running and physicality to get open 5 to 20 yards down the field. This is perfect.

If Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder showed anything last year, it was a hand cannon for an arm. Just kidding, I wanted to make sure you were still paying attention. What Ponder showed was a propensity for making the right play when the down and distance was between 8 and 10 yards. His passer rating in those instances was nearly 100. Jennings thrives on those kinds of plays.
In 2011, when he was not dealing with a hamstring injury, Jennings caught only 8 passes more than 20 yards down field. That means 59 of his 67 receptions were for less than 20 yards. And, of that 59, 41 were for 10 yards or less. Right in Ponder’s wheelhouse.
The next time Vikings fans see Cheech, he will be lining up across from Chris Cook --- in a Seachicken jersey.

The next time Vikings fans see Cheech, he will be lining up across from Chris Cook — in a Seachicken jersey.

Jennings’s deal is for 5 years and $47.5 million, with $18 million guaranteed. That is $7.5 million less than the Seachickens just guaranteed former Viking Percy Harvin. On its face, the trade of Harvin for a mess of draft picks (2013 1st and 7th – 2014 3rd) and the signing of Jennings for $1.5 million less seems like a great outcome. Was it tense there — sure. Considering the next best free agent wideout was Laurent Robinson (yikes), the stress was merited. But, in case of emergency, the Vikings went with a tried and true approach.

Signing away Packer greats has worked before — think Sharper, Longwell, and, of course, Brett Favre. Getting Jennings make the Vikings a lot better than they were 48 hours ago. However, the current outcome assumes one big thing: that the Vikings could not have found a way to keep both Harvin and Jennings.
The ticket-buying public has no idea what happens behind the scenes with Percy. Because he was traded, we can assume there were some significant issues. Percy being Percy. On the field, he is one of the most talented players in the league. A receiving corps of him, Jennings, and the emerging Kyle Rudolph would have been very hard to stop — no matter how well the quarterback played.
Unfortunately, we will never know what would have happened had the Vikings paid both guys. The cap room was there, but — at least in Harvin’s case — the attitude was not. Moving forward, with the emergency in the rear view, the Vikings need to nail this year’s draft like they did last year. Another wide receiver (please be Keenan Allen) and a some additional help in the secondary would be welcome additions to a team that is at a crossroads. Either take the next step and become a contender or take two steps back to the bottom of the division.

Michael Beasley – The 6th Man

SuperCool Beas... umm... yeah

Michael Beasley, the player formally known as the Wolves starting SF, may have finally found a niche that suits his game, and most importantly fills a Wolves need perfectly – The 6th Man. No one can question B-Ez’s talent. The guy is uber athletic and is really the only Wolf that can create his own shot. But, he’s also a Randy Moss clone in that he plays when he wants (just ask Cris Carter). Add in that he doesn’t contribute much defensively, and is often a black-hole on the offensive end. And, well,  that’s the enigma of B-Ez ,or SuperCool Beas as he had scribed across his back  (real quick – take a look at the lower right background… he must be Snoop’s nephew).

B-Ez started at SF for the Wolves’ first seven games before going down with an injury. The injury was a blessing in disguise. Averaging 31 minutes per game as a starter, SuperCool Beas (I’m pretty sure a junior high girls basketball player could come up with a better nickname than this… like, that’s SUPER cool) put up 12.9 ppg on 39% shooting. Additionally, the numbers don’t begin to tell the story of how poorly B-Ez’s game initially gelled with El Pistola. Any flow that El Pistola brought to the floor was quickly erased when B-Ez got his mitts on the ball and looked to take his man off the bounce. Simply put, B-Ez and El Pistola were a worse pair than Nicki Minaj and the Grammy’s.  The offense stagnated, and the team fell to 2-5.

After sitting 11 games with an injury, B-Ez has returned to the lineup in his new 6th Man role. The results have been much more positive for both B-Ez and the squad. The starting five have a certain rhythm without B-Ez on the floor. K. Love and El Pistola are becoming a force pick-and-roll duo. True, the Wolves still don’t have a strong starting SF (Wes Johnson – the first knuckleball shooter in the NBA). But, B-Ez brings exactly what the second string needs – a go-to scorer who can create his shot. The second group does not have the maestro at point to create open shots for others. B-Ez can go to work off the bounce and still create production for the second group. Since taking over in this new role, B-Ez has better numbers – 14.3 ppg on 45% shooting. And when he’s on, like the night he dropped 34 at Houston, he stays on the floor during crunch time.

Time will tell whether SuperCool Beas accepts and thrives in this role. If he accepts it, he could carve out a nice career as 6th Man scorer. Look at the best 6th Men in the league – James Harden and Jason Terry. They accept their role, provide instant offense, and play hard when they get in. B-Ez is obviously a mental midget (evidenced by tweeting a pic of an awful tattoo with some sticky icky in the background); but even he has to realize that this is a good role for his game. And if he does, ladies of the Twin Cities need to watch out. As Yeezy said: “I’m pulling girls off the bench like a sixth man.”

Cris “All I do is get snubbed” Carter

Cris “All I do is catch touchdowns” Carter cannot catch a break in his quest for Canton. His stats undeniably show he is a Hall of Famer: 1,101 receptions, 13,899 yards, 130 TD’s (at the time of his retirement, these numbers were good for no. 2 on the all-time receiving list), 8 straight seasons with 1,000 yards, 5 straight seasons with 10+ TD catches, 8 Pro Bowl selections, and was voted a member of the 1990s All-Decade team. Those that witnessed him play would agree – the guy was a gamer. He trademarked the tip-toe sideline catch. And despite his early-career transgressions, Cris Carter was instrumental in mentoring a young Randy Moss as the Vikings cruised to a 15-1 record, and a missed FG (nice snap Superstar) from a Super Bowl berth. So what, exactly, is holding him back to what should be an inevitable election to the Hall of Fame?

Carter's HOF candidacy has been anything but a vacation.

Some opine that Cris Carter and Andre Reed (another WR HOF finalist) are canceling each other out. But, this does not jive with their statistics.  Carter’s numbers are flat out better. He has more receptions, yards, touchdowns, and pro-bowl berths. Reed, of course, played in more Super Bowls, albeit, for the losing squad every time. Because of the Super Bowls, Reed may be deserving of enshrinement, however, if you’re choosing between two similar players, it should come down to the numbers. And the fact that Carter was voted to the all-decade team and Reed was not, should solidify Carter’s dominance amongst his peers. If a voter votes for Reed, and not Carter, he should have his HOF voting rights stripped.

For an unknown reason, WR have a tougher time getting enshrined compared to other offensive skilled positions. It could be that they are considered the “divas” of the football team.  WR’s are not well represented in the Hall, particularly when compared to their fellow “skill position” players at QB and RB. There are only 4 WR’s in the Hall that have played into the 1990’s, compared to 7 QB’s and 7 RB’s. And they often have to wait nearly twice as long after retirement for their induction too. This last point is most noticeable by the fact that Curtis Martin was elected this year over Carter. Martin’s stats are certainly deserving of enshrinement, but, how are his stats any different than Carter’s stats when compared to his WR peers?

No joke, Hartman may have cast a vote for FDR (in more than one election)!!

Unfortunately, it is likely the process itself that is keeping Carter from receiving his just reward.  HOF candidates are selected and voted upon by the senior representative writer from that player’s “hometown” (the place he played for most of his career).  This means that since Carter’s retirement, his HOF candidacy has been in the ancient hands of Sid Hartman.  That is right, a man who may have voted for FDR, yes, that FDR, is charged with determining whether Carter should get in.  There have been more than rumbles over the past ten years that maybe this important role should be tasked to someone who is a little more “in touch” with the candidates.

Not only has Sid failed to advance Carter’s case, there have been multiple reports that Sid is not well-liked among his fellow HOF voters.   This means that even when Sid finally gets around to touting Carter’s case, the other writers are not exactly going to rally to the cry.  It is a bad joke that Carter’s lone voice is a curmudgeon who is unwilling to relinquish his post and instead continues to carry the banner for injustices of days gone by (think, Jim Marshall and Mick Tinglehoff).  Interesting enough, Randle McDaniel (considered by many to own the Greatest of All-Time label) suffered the same fate as Carter, waiting for years until he was finally enshrined.

I am not sure if Sid is the ONLY reason for Carter’s exclusion, but, I suspect it is the main reason.  Regardless, it needs to be rectified, and soon. Unfortunately for Carter, next year’s class will not make it any easier on him, with new candidates in Michael Strahan, Larry Allen, Jonathan Ogden, Steve McNair, and Warren Sapp. With only five “modern-era” players elected each year, we may be having this same discussion for a few more years.