Which Vikings receivers will make the team in 2017?
After failing to sign any free agent receivers before the draft, the Minnesota Vikings were able to land a quality wideout in Michael Floyd last Wednesday. By adding Floyd, the Vikings are suddenly deep at wideout. Very deep. Now the question becomes, who will make the team?
Here’s a quick look at the top receivers currently on the Vikings offseason roster:
- Stefon Diggs
- Adam Thielen
- Michael Floyd
- Laquon Treadwell
- Jarius Wright
- Rodney Adams
- Stacy Coley
- Isaac Freuchte
- Moritz Böhringer
- Cayleb Jones
- Diggs and Thielen are locks to make the 53-man roster. They are both talented receivers who can be productive no matter where they line up on the field. Diggs could have a monster season if he’s able to avoid injury.
- Treadwell is a lock as well. He’ll face competition from Floyd, and he’ll need to earn his place on the depth chart, but he’s not going anywhere. Despite having one catch last season, there’s virtually no chance the Vikings will part ways their 2016 first-round pick. The team knows Floyd will likely be out at the start the season (due to suspension because of a DUI arrest last year), so a significant role could be on the horizon for 21-year-old Treadwell.
- Floyd has the natural receiver instincts and route-running abilities that former Viking receiver Cordarrelle Patterson lacked. He also has the potential to bring to the Vikings what they have been seeking since the departure of Randy Moss — a vertical field-stretcher on the outside. He must stay out of legal trouble, and assuming Floyd does that, there’s no question the Minnesota native will make the team.
- Wright was buried on the depth chart due to early-season injuries and excess depth at the position in 2016. When healthy, Wright is an effective slot receiver. Despite his effectiveness, Wright has a $3.16 million salary cap hit in 2017. Because of the high cap number and the fact the Vikings drafted two potential slot receivers, it’s very reasonable to assume Wright, 27, could be released or traded before the season.
- Adams played his college ball at South Florida. The Vikings drafted him in the fifth round of April’s draft. He’s explosive and has been described as a “gadget player.” Adams will be given a chance to replace Patterson in a similar role; as the full-time kick returner and as a versatile offensive weapon. His kick return abilities alone should earn Adams a job.
- Coley is a former Miami Hurricane who was drafted last month in the 7th round. Despite injury concerns and lack of size (6′ 0, 195 lbs.), Coley can take the top off a defense. Although he was a late-round pick, Coley has been labeled as a draft steal by ESPN. He’s seen primarily as a slot receiver that could replace Wright on the roster if the veteran is traded or released.
- Fruechte is from Caledonia, Minnesota. He spent much of the last two years on the practice squad, and the Vikings seem to like him. He’s earned more playing time, and it’d be good to see an Adam Thielen-like breakout season out of Fruechte, but the 26-year-old will have to pull out all the stops AND show his worth on special teams if he’s going to earn his way onto this team.
- Böhringer (MoBo) was drafted by the Vikings in the sixth round of the 2016 NFL Draft in an attempt to develop him into a No. 1 receiver. He was placed on the practice squad last year after being waived and remained there the entire season. Despite being 6′ 4″ and 225 pounds, the unpolished German wideout will have to out-play Fruechte and explosive rookies Adams and Coley this preseason to make the team.
- Jones was signed to the practice squad late in the 2016 season after being cut by the Philadelphia Eagles during training camp. He’s 6′ 3″ and 210 pounds. Due to the depth of the Vikings’ receivers, his chances of making the team are remote.
My 2017 WR prediction:
- Stefon Diggs (Age 23, 6’0″, 191 lbs.)
- Adam Thielen (Age 26, 6’3″, 200 lbs.)
- Michael Floyd (Age 27, 6’3″, 225 lbs.)
- Laquon Treadwell (Age 21, 6’3′, 216 lbs.)
- Rodney Adams (Age 22, 6’1″, 189 lbs.)
- Stacy Coley (Age 23, 6’0″, 195 lbs.)
- Moritz Böhringer (Age 23, 6’4″, 227 lbs.)
- Isaac Fruechte (Age 26, 6’3″, 210 lbs.)
As much as I wanted my prediction to be different than BJ’s roster projection, I concur with his analysis. I predict Wright will be released at some point before the season. He became expendable with the Floyd signing. It’s also entirely possible that Fruechte beats out one of the rookies and sees more playing time this year.
To me, it’s too risky to try to pass Adams or Coley through waivers to the practice squad, which is why I predict Fruechte begins the year there. The way things stand now, the Vikings receivers are a deep, dangerous group that will be tough for opposing teams to defend.