PFF Has a New WR in Mind for Vikings

New free agents Josh Oliver (TE, Ravens), Marcus Davenport (EDGE, Saints), and Byron Murphy (CB, Cardinals) joined the Minnesota Vikings this week, while Cameron Dantzler (CB, Commanders), Eric Kendricks (LB, Chargers), Patrick Peterson (CB, Steelers), Adam Thielen (WR, TBD), and Dalvin Tomlinson (DT, Browns) departed.

That’s the lay of the purple land on Day No. 5 of NFL free agency, and because teams’ rosters are coming together, mock-draft season has resumed.

PFF Has a New WR in Mind for Vikings

Pro Football Focus dropped a fresh mock draft Thursday, and understandably, Minnesota was on deck for a fancy new wide receiver — Quentin Johnston from TCU.

PFF Has a New WR
Nov 6, 2021; Fort Worth, Texas, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) runs with the ball past Baylor Bears cornerback Kalon Barnes. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports.

Before the NFL Combine in February, some theorized Johnston as a Top 15-ish talent because of his size and skillset. But he measured at 6 feet and 2 inches in Indianapolis, which is certainly not bad, but not the 6’4″ that was evidently falsely advertised in January. Accordingly, as Johnston isn’t quite as large as expected, the TCU product has slipped down draft boards a smidgen.

All the way to the Vikings apparently, as PFF‘s Trevor Sikkema linked Johnston to Kevin O’Connell’s team. He wrote, “With Adam Thielen officially gone, the Vikings could very well be in the wide receiver market in the first round, especially if a player like Quentin Johnston is available. Johnston is one of the few in this class who gives you a size and speed combination as an outside receiver.”

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) speaks to the media after beating the Michigan Wolverines in the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

And unless the Vikings use free agency to sign Odell Beckham, D.J. Chark, or Mecole Hardman, the club needs a WR2 to replace Adam Thielen, who left after 10 years of service one week ago. O’Connell could also promote K.J. Osborn or Jalen Nailor to WR2, but a safer bet seems like Beckham, Chark, Hardman, or an early-round rookie for 2023.

Johnston fired up a terrific junior season at TCU, registering 60 receptions for 1,069 yards and 6 touchdowns. All told in three years at the school, he tabulated a marvelous 19.0 yards per reception — just what the doctor ordered in an offense looking for solutions opposite Justin Jefferson.

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Otherwise, if Johnston doesn’t fall to the Vikings No. 23 pick or the front office simply isn’t interested, one or some of Jaxon Smith-Njigba (Ohio State), Zay Flowers (Boston College), Jordan Addison (USC), or Jalin Hyatt (Tennessee) is likely to be available for Minnesota.

The Draft Network describes Johnston’s toolkit, “Johnston served as the X-factor for a high-powered TCU offense that led the program to its first national championship appearance in decades. Johnston has an elite-level athletic profile, combining speed, acceleration, and size in a way that has allowed him to be dominant and consistently put up impressive single-game numbers.”

Dec 31, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; TCU Horned Frogs wide receiver Quentin Johnston (1) against the Michigan Wolverines during the 2022 Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Weaknesses in his game, according to TDN, include an inability at times to defeat press coverage, along with some contested-catch concerns.

The Vikings could also trade out of the 23rd pick, hoping to stockpile draft assets — much like general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah did in 2022.

The NFL draft is 41 days away.


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 Sal Spice. His Vikings obsession dates back to 1996. Listed guilty pleasures: Peanut Butter Ice Cream, ‘The Sopranos,’ and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by OverTheCap.com.

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