It’s Draft Or Bust at Wideout for Minnesota

steam for new wr2
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It was wildly apparent last year that the Minnesota Vikings needed to find a running mate for superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson. Ultimately that never came to fruition, and entering 2023, he needs help more than ever.

With the departure of veteran Adam Thielen, Justin Jefferson will be on an island for the Minnesota Vikings. Obviously, as talented as he is, the production will be there no matter what. To what extent he can have coverage drawn off him remains to be seen, but the offense needs to incorporate new weapons.

It’s Draft Or Bust at Wideout for Minnesota

A season ago, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah traded for tight end T.J. Hockenson. That was a wonderful move, and great to get such a high-level skill player from within the division. Unfortunately, he wasn’t a true addition, as it was only after Irv Smith Jr. went down that he was acquired. Looking ahead to 2023, the only help for Jefferson and Hockenson is prototypical third wideout, K.J. Osborn.

Bust at Wideout
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Minnesota has sat out of free agency regarding the receiver class. It wasn’t exactly loaded, and while they were at times linked to Odell Beckham Jr. last season, he is now headed to Baltimore to play for the Ravens. The leftover names are relatively barren and include former Lions wideout Kenny Golladay or the ghost of Julio Jones. T.Y. Hilton is another big name that has aged, and Randall Cobb is still hoping Aaron Rodgers can get him a payday. Realistically, there is nothing to be excited about, and the Vikings would be beyond hopeful that any of those types could truly draw coverage away from Jefferson.

That means the NFL Draft could be Minnesota’s last opportunity to find an addition alongside Jefferson. There are a few worthy 1st round picks, such as Quentin Johnson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Zay Flowers, and Jordan Addison. At least one of them should still be available when Minnesota makes their pick at 23rd overall, but the board could also push them in a different direction.

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Jefferson was a home run selection in the first round, and finding another version of him is probably unlikely. If the Vikings wait until the middle rounds to add a wideout, they’ll need to ensure their scouting is spot on and that player is a talent capable of immediately stepping in to contribute. That’s probably a big ask and puts even more pressure on the shoulders of the man that Griddy’s in the end zone.

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For a team that will need so much to break right in 2023 should they want to avoid a step back, things start with the draft and will immediately be under the microscope. The wide receiver room is still a big question mark, and it remains to be seen where an answer can come from.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.