Don’t Rule out Broncos in Vikings Search for WR

The Minnesota Vikings released beloved wide receiver Adam Thielen last week, and the club might need a replacement this offseason.

Free agency and the NFL draft are the most sensible options for replenishment, but don’t rule out a trade with the Denver Broncos for Minnesota’s next WR2.

Don’t Rule out Broncos in Vikings Search for WR

Denver currently employs Jerry Jeudy, Courtland Sutton, and K.J. Hamler at WR, and none of those men is necessarily attached at the hip to new head coach Sean Payton. In fact, Broncos reporter Benjamin Allbright seems convinced a trade involving the pass-catchers — to somewhere — could shakedown at any minute.

Rule out Broncos
Jan 1, 2023; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) warms up prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports.

Allbright tweeted Wednesday about a Broncos WR trade, “And there ARE teams calling. There’s a possibility neither Jeudy or Sutton are Broncos next season.”

Specifically on Jeudy, who entered the NFL during the same draft as Vikings phenom Justin Jefferson, an asking price is evident. The Athletic’s Jeff Howe reported, “Broncos WR Jerry Jeudy’s name has continued to come up in trade conversations, per source, but Denver’s price has remained high. Sounds like they’re assessing his value before proceeding. [..] The Broncos’ asking price on Jeudy has been at least a first-round pick, per sources.”

Dec 11, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Jerry Jeudy (10) reacts to his third touchdown reception of the game in the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports.

Former Vikings executive George Paton runs the show as general manager in Denver, so he should have a clear communication pipeline to Minnesota. A team might donate a 1st-Round pick for Jeudy — the price seems a wee bit high — or that could merely be the beginning negotiation price.

There’s a small chance that Vikings bossman Kwesi Adofo-Mensah could trade his 23rd overall pick on the ultra-talented Jeudy. The strategy would alleviate the hit-and-miss aspect of drafting a youngster this April. Jeudy hasn’t taken off like his draft peer Jefferson, but the script could flip in a Kevin O’Connell offense.

Otherwise, Sutton, 27, is intriguing, too. He started his career like gangbusters but slowed down in the last three seasons, probably because of the Broncos utterly anemic quarterback play. If Jeudy’s true-blue asking price is a 1st-Round, then Sutton’s would be a mid-rounder. Trading a mid-rounder for a prime-of-his-career Sutton is actually quite tantalizing.

Oct 23, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver KJ Hamler (1) runs the ball in the third quarter against the New York Jets at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Earlier this offseason, K.J. Hamler was muttered as a trade candidate, and he’d be even more affordable via trade than Jeudy and Sutton. The catch, though, is he may not be better than the Vikings existing WR2 options, K.J. Osborn and Jalen Nailor.

Regardless, the Vikings need a WR2 plan. Only they know if Osborn or Nailor is the next man up following Thielen’s departure, and if either man is just that — great. However, hedging the bet by drafting a wide receiver with early-round draft capital or signing a D.J. Chark-type in free agency feels like the more logical play.

But don’t rule out a swap of assets with Denver.

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).

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