Somehow — Vikings Fans Should Feel Lucky about OBJ

The Vikings Odds to Land Odell Beckham Jr.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings did not win the Odell Beckham sweepstakes after fringe involvement for about eight months.

Beckham signed with the Baltimore Ravens Sunday and will join Lamar Jackson or a quarterback to be named later in the other purple team’s offense this autumn.

Somehow — Vikings Fans Should Feel Lucky about OBJ

And at Beckham’s pricetag, when it was all said and done, Vikings fans should feel lucky — or relieved — that Minnesota didn’t pony up the cash.

Should Feel Lucky
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

Beckham’s deal in Baltimore guarantees the 30-year-old almost $15 million and is expandable to $18 million with incentives. When free agency began, Beckham reportedly sought $20 million but evidently settled for a bit less.

A 30-year-old returning from an ACL tear after missing a full season of football should not fetch $15 million or $18 million — no matter his star-studded name. Indeed, Beckham will sell jerseys, generate buzz, and even perform well in Baltimore. After all, this is the franchise that never surrounds Jackson with prominent wide receivers, so somebody apparently drew a line in the sand.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings were only a member of the Beckham rumor mill for one reason — head coach Kevin O’Connell. The two won a Super Bowl as Los Angeles Rams coworkers over the Cincinnati Bengals in February of 2022, and the coach-player ties kept Minnesota relevant in the “who will sign Beckham?” chatter.

But let’s face it. Beckham at $15-$18 million on the Vikings for 2023? That’s a nonstarter. Minnesota, foremost, doesn’t have the salary cap available — or anything of the sort — for such an addition. Too, would you really want Beckham on the Vikings at that price? Beckham hasn’t recorded 1,000+ receiving yards in a season since 2019 or double-digit touchdowns since 2016. His contract anywhere, Minnesota in particular, just doesn’t add up.

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Many thought Beckham could be attainable for around $8 or $9 million when the dust settled on free agency, but the LSU alumnus came along and grabbed more per-season cash than any free-agent wide receiver. Allen Lazard (New York Jets) and Jakobi Meyers (Las Vegas Raiders) earned $11 million per year this free-agent cycle, skimpy deals after the knowledge of Beckham’s contract with the Ravens.

Beckham with the Vikings in 2023 could’ve been fantastic — make no mistake. He might even thrive in Baltimore, especially if Jackson trots into September as QB1. But the Vikings don’t have the funds to pay anybody Beckham money at this juncture of free agency. Plus, when the 2023 regular season ends, there’s a very reasonable chance that Beckham isn’t worth $15 million guaranteed.

Somehow, Vikings fans can be elated their team didn’t win the Beckham sweepstakes.


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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