Vikings Mentioned as Potential DeAndre Hopkins Suitors

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Among many needs in the 2023 Vikings off-season, a wide receiver is one of them. Veteran Adam Thielen is reportedly on his way out, while K.J. Osborn is probably better suited as a WR3 than the secondary option.

Justin Jefferson needs a better running mate to fully unleash the pass-heavy Vikings’ offense. The Vikings own the 23rd overall pick and could target a draft prospect like Florida State’s Zay Flowers or add a dynamic receiver in free agency. However, the trade market could also be an option.

Vikings Mentioned as Potential DeAndre Hopkins Suitors

Vikings Mentioned as Potential DeAndre Hopkins Suitors
October 20, 2022; Glendale, Ariz; USA; Cardinals wideout Robbie Anderson (81) and DeAndre Hopkins. © Patrick Breen/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK.

Only a few receivers have been at the Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins’ level in the last decade. Since he entered the league in the 2013 NFL draft, where he was selected with the 27th overall pick, two picks before the Vikings picked Cordarrelle Patterson, and two picks after they brought in Xavier Rhodes, he is second in the NFL in receiving yards, only trailing Julio Jones.

He leads the league in receptions in the same span and is fourth in receiving touchdowns. Throughout the ten seasons, Hopkins made five All-Pro teams, including three nominations for the first-team All-Pro, and he is a five-time Pro Bowler.

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The wideout has elite hands and rarely drops a pass. In addition to that, his route running is perfect. Hopkins is a skilled receiver. Those usually tend to be able to play longer than players who rely on their athleticism.

The wideout was traded to the Cardinals in 2020 for running back David Johnson, a second-round pick, and an exchange of fourth-round selections. Texans head coach and general manager at the time, Bill O’Brian, received heavy criticism for the move. Hopkins statistics are on the way down. After recording at least 800 yards in his first eight campaigns in the league and six 1,000-yard seasons, he recorded only a total of 1,289 yards in the last couple of seasons.

In 2021, Hopkins missed all but ten games with injuries and was never fully healthy, and in 2022, Hopkins was suspended for the first six contests for a violation of the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. He missed two more games with a minor knee injury when the Cardinals were already eliminated.

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Hopkins is available on the trade market. The Cardinals could enter some sort of rebuilding period, and his cap hits are absurd. In 2023, Hopkins’ cap hit is $30,750,000, and in 2024 $26,215,000. Those are huge numbers, but he recently said he would be flexible with his contract.

The Vikings would have to sign him on a restructured deal and push some of the caps hits into the future. That is a smart way to build a better team. If the Vikings end up releasing more of the veterans, they would have huge amounts of cap space in 2024 and could use that to lure some top free agents or trade targets to Minnesota.

NFL writer Benjamin Solak named the Vikings as a possible Hopkins suitor, especially if the organization parts ways with Adam Thielen.

Hopkins was an elite receiver in his prime and has the accolades to prove it. However, he clearly lost a step, and injuries are starting to pile up, but he is still an excellent receiver. In the four games he played with quarterback Kyler Murray in 2022, he recorded 385 yards and three scores. His production dipped with the multitude of backups he had to play with.

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In Minnesota, Hopkins would not be the top target in the passing game for the first time in his career. The result of playing opposite of Justin Jefferson would lead to fewer double teams, and he is extremely hard to cover without safety help. In Week 8, Hopkins played against the Vikings, mostly covered by Cameron Dantzler, and recorded 159 yards on 12 catches and added a touchdown. To have such a weapon in addition to Jefferson and tight end T.J. Hockenson would be a nightmare for defenses and would lead to some pick-your-poison type of situations.

According to Chad Graff, the demanded trade compensation is a second-rounder. The Vikings currently don’t have a selection in the second round. A deal for a future pick or some package involving the 2023 third-rounder is also possible. It would be another blockbuster trade by Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, who has already facilitated numerous trades in his one year in charge.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt