In the first four years of his NFL career, Jermaine Wiggins had to overcome the ignominy of being an undrafted college free agent, was released by three different clubs, auditioned more times than a Broadway wanna-be and never caught more than 18 passes in a season.
Despite earning a Super Bowl ring with the New England Patriots in 2001 and playing in the title game with the Carolina Panthers last season, Wiggins was viewed, literally and figuratively, as a journeyman, a tight end who never seemed to be quite the right end for a team's needs. His career receiving totals entering the 2004 season: 50 catches, 482 yards, eight touchdowns.
Through the first 11 games of this season with the Minnesota Vikings , though, Wiggins has 47 receptions for 465 yards and four scores. Signed by the Vikings as an unrestricted free agent in the offseason, and taking full advantage of the rare opportunity presented him when Minnesota standout tight end Jim Kleinsasser suffered a season-ending knee injury early in the year, Wiggins has become a key cog in the team's high-octane offense.