Vikings: Add a deep threat in Wallace

| 2 years ago

Vikings: Add a deep threat in Wallace

PFF-headlinesWhen the Minnesota Vikings traded for Mike Wallace they got themselves a receiver with serious deep speed. That he was available would have seemed inconceivable back when he was a big name free agent in 2013, but average form (-4.9 in two seasons in Miami), large salary and apparent discontent were all contributing factors to the Miami Dolphins decision to let him go.

Wallace is something of a one-trick pony, a receiver who uses his raw speed to gain separation; when it works he is more than capable of taking it to the house. That makes Wallace deadly in a vertical offense with a quarterback with the strength and accuracy to find him deep. That was more or less the case throughout his time Pittsburgh, where he caught passes from Ben Roethlisberger, racking up an impressive 4042 yards and 32 touchdowns in four years. Unsurprisingly, much of Wallace’s production came after he’d blazed past the secondary, with 43.7% of his yards and an impressive 68.75% of his touchdowns coming on Deep Passes (those that travel at least 20 yards downfield in the air).

In Miami, Wallace gained just 460 yards and two touchdowns on deep balls, but still remained relatively productive with 1,792 yards and 15 touchdowns in two years. Now he finds himself in Minnesota as part of a Norv Turner offense that will definitely take shots downfield, and with a quarterback in Teddy Bridgewater who completed 46.3% of his deep passes as a rookie, 10th-best in the league in 2014. All of which appears to make Wallace an excellent fit in Minnesota.

| Analyst

Kevin has been an analyst at Pro Football Focus since 2014, with a particular focus on college football.

  • corners

    “Wallace is something of a one-trick pony, a receiver who uses his raw
    speed to gain separation; when it works he is more than capable of
    taking it to the house.”

    You didn’t watch much of him in 2014 if you think hes still a 1 trick pony.He proved he wasnt by scoring 10 td’s. that should probably have been much more had he a more cable qb for the long ball.

    Personally i think the phins got a bad deal out of the trade. A 5th round pick for wallace and a 7th was a steal for the vikings.

    • eYeDEF

      Does scoring 10 touchdowns prove he’s not a “one trick pony”? I think that would depend on how those touchdowns were scored. Wallace’s “trick” was to use his speed to gain separation and get open and catch long balls on go routes. If that’s the primary means that he used on his scoring catches (which I believe it was) then “scoring 10 touchdowns” does nothing to refute him being a “one trick pony”. Like you quoted yourself “when it works he is more than capable of taking it to the house.” so it’s not like Kevin doesn’t acknowledge that Wallace’s one trick can net him a lot of scores. To actually become more than a “one trick pony” would require him to add additional dimensions to his game. Like creating vertical separation high pointing the ball, or out muscling guys on contested catches in traffic. That’s outside Wallace’s bag of tricks … or actually just one trick.

      • corners

        thats what im trying to tell you. We watched those games, he got very few of those yards or 10 tds on long balls.

        People calling him a one trick pony are just regurgitating what people said when he left pitt unceremoniously without having had watched his 2014 season.

        • eYeDEF

          Ok, well according to PFF only 3 of those 10 touchdowns came on catches of under 10 yards, two of them coming on screens where he presumably used his speed to gain 44 YAC and run for the touchdown. Is that adding a dimension to his game? I really don’t know. It seems to me a lot like outrunning his defenders for a score in space which is what he was always good at before.

          • Izach

            Only 3 from under ten but only 2 from over 20 so most his TDs came from the ten to 20 yard so he’s a redzone option?

          • Izach

            I will say you seem to understand that Wallace speed can be used other ways, but the problem is most ppl think speed means deep threat, Wallace can run every route if a team lets him, and he’ll be effective in those routes too, he does have an issue catching contested balls but wih his speed if a QB accurate, or the OC is creative it wouldn’t be an issue. Joes phins have not bee creative on O and the OL doesn’t let RT be as accurate as he should, but MIA ships Wallace out for peanuts and use him as a scapegoat.

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          • corners

            fair enough

      • Izach

        You didn’t read the post did you? He Gained over 15 TD and 1700+ yards on non deep routes in MIA PFF own statement contradict this statement, he wasn’t used well in MIA but I idk if he be used more in MIN either.

        • eYeDEF

          You’re making a lot of assumptions there bud. Does it have to be a deep route for him to use his speed to create separation in space? Wallace ran 10 and 20 yard splits of 1.56 and 2.54 respectively. That’s world class speed that would knock the socks off most cornerbacks. He also had a 3 cone time of 6.90. That tells me he doesn’t even need to run a straight go route to create separation in space with his speed since he’s got an elite ability to change directions on a dime.

          Since I didn’t watch most of Wallace’s games I don’t know whether those touchdowns of less than 20 yards came from separating himself in space by using his speed, I’d presume so but I’d be taking the author’s word on it. But what you seem to think is a contradiction in the article is not a contradiction because they’re built on your flawed assumptions.

          • Izach

            I’m not assuming much, sure PFF said uses speed but, but what they or I should say what most ppl mean is he’s just a deep threat, Which he isn’t. Sure he’s issues speed to win, just like antonio Brown uses his agility, or how jimmy graham uses his body control, every player has something they use to get open or make catches, it’s what gives players their style. Saying Wallace is a one trick pony means he’s just a deep threat, the fact that only 2of 15 TDs came on deep routes proves that isn’t the case. He is more than a just a deep vertical threat, the problem in MIA was a lack of creative playcalling and a predictable offense with almost no other options at WR to take pressure off Wallace.

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    • SeattleSteve

      Capable QB was more than capable of getting that 1 trick pony 10 touchdowns… I wonder how “capable” he’d look if he had Capable Receivers that can do more than just predictable GO Routes.

    • Riffle,Rod&Fly

      Wallace is a one-trick pony. He has been since he was in Pittsburg but I agree with your assessment that this was a good deal for the Vikings. Tannehill struggles with the deep ball and it appears to be one of Bridgewater’s strengths. They should be able to better utilize him, especially if AP is back and defenses have to play close in.

  • Joseph Paul

    Well, what he meant to say was that those 10 touchdowns were “redzone touchdowns”.

    The fact that Wallace’s deep speed will cause defenses to account for him and give help by shading a safety to his side of the field will allow Adrian Peterson plenty of room to do damage; as well as create mismatch problems for TE Kyle Rudolph. WRs Charles Johnson, Cordarrelle Patterson, and Jarius Wright also stand to benefit from the presence of Mike Wallace. Simply put, his presence alone warrants his salary; and obtaining him for a 5th round draft pick (that we obtained by trading backup QB Matt Cassell) is a massive coup for our ball club.

  • brendasdf

    Wallace isn’t a one-trick pony. He runs screens, slants, outs, reverses, etc. His best quality is his speed, but it’s not his only one. He actually bulked up a little last year, too.

    Wallace was just a bad fit in Miami. Wallace’s strength was Tannehill’s weakness. I can’t believe Miami found someone who was willing to take on his massive contract. This trade was good for both teams.