But by the time Wallace landed in Minnesota, as the result of a trade in March, he'd joined a team with an offense that should fit him much better than the one he left behind in Miami.
Wallace is among the purest of burners, a receiver whose best asset has always been the straight-line speed to burn defensive backs down the field. He ran a 4.33-second 40-yard dash in 2009 and averaged more than 16 yards per catch in three of his four years with the Pittsburgh Steelers. But in Miami, he was stuck in the West Coast system of former Green Bay Packers offensive coordinator Joe Philbin, without a quarterback who could sling it downfield the way Aaron Rodgers does.
According to ESPN Stats and Information, only three quarterbacks had a lower completion percentage on passes of 20 yards or more than the Dolphin' Ryan Tannehill, who hit just 13 of his 49 throws that far downfield last year. Tannehill was worse in 2013, and Wallace caught just 12 passes of 20-plus yards in two years with the Dolphins, after hauling in 44 in four years with the Steelers.
The Vikings want to push the ball deep in Norv Turner's offense, and Wallace, who was their top target at wide receiver this offseason, was the only one the team had interest in acquiring via a trade. He is playing flanker right now, but he said after the Vikings' organized team activity on Wednesday that he expects to move around the offense. Wherever he is, Wallace expects to feel more at home than he did in Miami.
"I think it's more so [like] my first four years," Wallace said. "It's a vertical offense, [rather] than a short, West Coast offense. You go down the field a lot more here, more what I'm accustomed to."
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater said he has been spending extra time with Wallace each day, working on routes they ran in practice. The Vikings will use Wallace in a variety of ways -- coach Mike Zimmer has pointed out how dangerous Wallace can be on screen passes, too -- but his deep speed is probably the primary reason he's in Minnesota now.
"We’re glad to have Mike," Bridgewater said. "He’s going to add some speed to that room and all of those guys are going to continue to elevate their games."