Mike Wallace: underused or just a small part of a bad passing offense?
MINNEAPOLIS -- After becoming unpopular in Miami and subsequently traded to Minnesota, wide receiver Mike Wallace has made it a point not to publicly complain about his role in his first year with the Vikings.
MINNEAPOLIS - After becoming unpopular in Miami and subsequently traded to Minnesota, wide receiver Mike Wallace has made it a point not to publicly complain about his role in his first year with the Vikings.
But after catching his second touchdown pass of the season in a 23-20 loss at Arizona last week, he did some stumping on his own behalf Tuesday.
Asked if it’s important to spread passes to several receivers, Wallace said, “I think it makes us better, not necessarily what we need to do. But I think it definitely makes us better.”
Wallace caught three passes for 44 yards and a touchdown against the Cardinals, which isn’t exactly a hall of fame game, but certainly is better than his previous four -- during which he was targeted a combined seven times and caught three total passes for 65 yards. In Thursday’s loss, quarterback Teddy Bridgewater threw five passes Wallace’s way.
“We have a lot of guys who can do something with the ball; it’s just about an opportunity,” Wallace said.
Wallace caught a combined 132 passes for 2,450 yards with the Steelers from 2010-11 and averaged an NFL-best 19.4 yards per catch as a rookie in 2009. But at 29, his career seems inextricably sliding toward the ditch. In 13 games with the Vikings, he has 33 receptions for 403 yards and two TDs, less than half of what he did in Miami last season (37 catches, 862 yards, 10 TDs) with only three games left.
Not lobbying more on his own behalf, Wallace said, is “very difficult, to be honest. But you can’t be selfish.”
Being selfish might not help, anyway. Minnesota’s passing game ranks 31st of 32 NFL teams in total passing yards (2,466), yards per game (189.7) and touchdown receptions (nine). Rookie Stefon Diggs ranks first in receiving yards (638) but his 44 receptions are one behind tight end Kyle Rudolph, who leads the Vikings with four TD catches.
Wallace, in fact, is the third-leading receiver on a team, while last year’s breakout best receiver, Charles Johnson, has just nine catches for 127 yards and has been thrown to only 13 times.