A Semi-Popular Vikings WR Won’t Make the Team

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Jun 8, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings offensive linemen perform drills during mandatory mini camp at TCO Performance Center. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

In about two and a half months, the Minnesota Vikings new leadership regime will trim the active roster from 90 men to 53. For now, the depth chart is stuffed to the gills will several maybes that will be weeded out in July and August.

And when the decision-makers get down to brass tacks at wide receiver, a player fairly popular with the Vikings fans won’t make the cut. To be clear, this is not an indictment on a specific wide receiver but is a numbers game instead.

Consider the Vikings current group of wide receivers:

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
WR4: Ihmir Smith-Marsette
WR5: Albert Wilson
WR6: Olabisi Johnson
WR7: Dan Chisena
WR8: Jalen Nailor
WR9: Blake Proehl
WR10: Myron Mitchell
WR11: Trishton Jackson
WR12: Thomas Hennigan

Of those men, you can reasonably chop the WR9, WR10, WR11, and WR12 from the 53-man roster without batting an eye. They won’t make the team.

Got it?

Next, the remaining personnel still represents a crowded house. It is unclear if Dan Chisena will make the team, but he was the team’s special teams gunner in 2021, playing two-thirds of all special teams snaps. That versatility bolsters his case for the 53-man cutoff. And if Chisena makes the squad, notable WR cuts could balloon by one.

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Mar 2, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Minnesota Vikings coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

When Week 1 rolls around, Minnesota is likely to keep six WRs, and it’s debatable whether Chisena is one of them. So, spitball these combos for a moment:

Scenario 1 (No Chisena)

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
WR4: Ihmir Smith-Marsette
WR5: Albert Wilson
WR6: Jalen Nailor

Here, Chisena is waived (again, that may be unlikely), and Bisi Johnson doesn’t get the nod. Johnson would be the pass-catcher Vikings fans know who’s the odd man out.

Scenario 2 (Keep Chisena, Wilson Booted)

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
WR4: Ihmir Smith-Marsette
WR5: Jalen Nailor
WR6: Dan Chisena

Wilson, signed last month, will have only stayed with the franchise for a summer. His release would be noteworthy as he’s a veteran presence. This scenario also assumes Johnson is released.

Scenario 3 (Keep Chisena, Rookie to Practice Squad)

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Adam Thielen
WR3: K.J. Osborn
WR4: Ihmir Smith-Marsette
WR5: Albert Wilson
WR6: Dan Chisena

Johnson is cut again, Jalen Nailor heads to the 2022 practice squad, and Wilson remains as the WR5 and perhaps special teams returner.

In all of the examples, Johnson is jettisoned, and one other “big name” by Vikings standards is released.

Overall, don’t get too enamored with Johnson, Wilson, or Nailor, as one of them simply won’t factor into 2022 regular season plans.


Dustin Baker is a political scientist who graduated from the University of Minnesota in 2007. Subscribe to his daily YouTube Channel, VikesNow. He hosts a podcast with Bryant McKinnie, which airs every Wednesday with Raun Sawh and Sally from Minneapolis. His Viking fandom dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).