With the 2015 NFL season set to begin in just over a month, now is the time to make bold predictions.
Who will be a surprise division winner? Which perennial playoff team will fall off the wagon? Which coaches will be on the hot seat? Which players will exceed expectations, and which players will fall short of them?
So many questions, so many potential answers.
“I’ll tell you what,” CBS NFL insider Pete Prisco said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show. “You want to circle a guy who’s going to add to a team? Nobody will believe this, but I’ll tell you what: By the end of the season, Mike Wallace will be a great addition to the Vikings.”
Yes, Mike Wallace.
On the surface, Prisco’s claim probably seems absurd. After all, Wallace will be playing for his third team in four years.
But what if we told you that Wallace has missed just one game in his six-year career? What if we told you that he’s had 60+ catches in five straight seasons? What if we told you that he had 15 touchdowns in 32 games for the Miami Dolphins, including 10 last season, which tied a career high?
So yeah, Prisco isn’t crazy. Wallace, who turns 29 on Aug. 1, is still one of the fastest players in the league, and he’ll be joining an offense that features Adrian Peterson, who is arguably the best running back in the league (still), and Teddy Bridgewater, who is one of the most promising young quarterbacks in the league.
And yet, most of the NFL is down on Wallace, who was traded to Minnesota in March for a fifth-round draft pick.
“One of the most misunderstood players in the National Football League,” Prisco said. “One of the most misunderstood players in the NFL. Works hard, teammates love him, coaches like him. I know the Vikings called a couple different teams – they called both Pittsburgh and Miami about him – and got good, rave reviews from all different angles about Mike Wallace. And you know what? His teammates love him.”
So his teammates love him, his coaches love him, and he caught 10 touchdown passes last season. If all of that is true, then why is the league so down on Wallace? Why is he so misunderstood?
“Because he got $60 million – a contract that nobody thought he was worth (and he) didn’t play to that contract,” Prisco said. “When you don’t play to that contract, a lot of people fire away at you and you become a target. That’s why.”
Minnesota’s top returning receivers are Jarius Wright and Charles Johnson. Both caught two touchdown passes last season.