Lead by a strong effort by Travis Taylor (8.6 DPAR), the Vikings receivers added a combined 7.5 DPAR to the team this year, or roughly half the value contributed to the Steelers by Nate Washington, one of thirty three (THIRTY THREE!!) wide outs to contribute more than double the value of the Vikings’ entire wide receiving corp.
While no one was predicting Pro Bowls for the Purple’s receivers before the season, few expected them to be as awful as they actually were. Taylor, Marcus Robinson and Troy Williamson’s putrid performance in 2006 was a major drop off from their 2005 totals:
As the above tables show, all three receivers performed significantly worse than in 2005, with Taylor being the lone exception. That can likely be explained by the huge increase in Taylor’s catch percentage and the likely reason for it. Catch percentage “represents the percentage of passes to this receiver completed” and refers only to complete v. incomplete passes. Drops are not taken into account. Taylor’s double digit increase is most likely due to the change in the offense. Childress’s passing game and Brad Johnson’s weak arm increased the emphasis on short passes, playing to Taylor’s strengths and making him more of a focal point in the passing game.
I could probably go on and on about how pathetic the Vikings wide receivers were this year, but I think this will probably sum it up the best. Travis Taylor was the most valuable wide out for the Vikings this year. His most productive year was 2002, when he posted a 12.3 DPAR, good enough for 35th overall, a position he equaled in 2005. To put that into perspective, in 2006, Pittsburgh, New Orleans and Arizona each had three receivers that ranked higher than 35th in DPAR, eight other teams had two receivers and nine more had one. Twenty teams had better wide receivers than the best year of the Vikings’ most productive wide out. At his most productive, Taylor would only be the second most valuable receiver on nine teams, the third on eight teams and the fourth on three teams. And he wasn’t even at his best in 2006.
[A look at the Fullbacks is coming tomorrow, and if you've missed any of the other positions, the links are below]