I still remember the play.
On September, 11, 2005, Javon Walker sustained a season ending knee injury while playing for the Green Bay Packers. After threatening to hold out for the 2005 season instead of playing for what he deemed as a contract not worthy of his talent, Walker decided to play out the year. Unfortunately, he tore up his knee on that opening day and has clearly never been the same.
I can still visualize him clutching his leg on the sidelines. I remember thinking about how this could change the course of his future as a football player. What’s happened since then has been a sad tale of a player never really being able to recapture the magic that made him such a promising young talent.
The Vikings are the latest team to give Walker a chance. His post-Packer stints in Denver and Oakland have been pretty forgettable, other than the 1,084 yards and 8 touchdowns he put together in 2006 with the Broncos. The past three years combined have produced just 483 yards and one touchdown reception as he’s battled constant problems with his knee.
So, where do we go from here?
Sidney Rice has undergone hip surgery and Percy Harvin is having some serious problems with migraines, leaving the door open for early season production in Minnesota.
Walker joins the Vikings as a former Favre favorite. You can bet the Hattiesburg native gave the green light for them to give Walker a tryout and physical. However, this is simply not the same Javon Walker that Brett used to sling the ball to in Lambeau. Let’s just say there was no plane sent to pick him up carrying Jared Allen and Steve Hutchinson.
Bernard Berrian stands to gain the most from Rice being hurt, not Walker. He should enter the starting lineup and moves up to No. 3 wide receiver territory in fantasy until Rice returns for the second half of the season. Visanthe Shiancoe could get an uptick in red zone targets as well. The value of Brett Favre may be lowered a little, but anyone expecting the gaudy 2009 numbers from Favre this season is setting themselves up for disappointment anyway.
As far as Walker goes, I wouldn’t touch him unless I was in the deepest of leagues. There’s no guarantee he even makes the team. If he does, there’s even less of a chance he can stay healthy enough to contribute. I’d rather use my valuable dynasty league roster spot for a young prospect.
Many fantasy outlets are making the Rice injury and Walker signing way too big of a deal in my mind. While it’s obviously a significant injury for Rice, Walker won’t help many teams this season.
You could make a case that Rice moves down the rankings to a top 15-20 wide receiver in dynasty leagues, as opposed to a top 10-15, but anything else would be an overreaction.
The sad story of Javon Walker has a new chapter today. I think it’s going to be short story.
Ken is on Twitter at DLF_KenK