Vikings Reportedly Not in Sweepstakes for All-Pro WR

Feb 8, 2023; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the FanDuel set on radio row at the media center at the Phoenix Convention Center. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.

The Minnesota Vikings will inevitably target a WR2 replacement for Adam Thielen, who left for the Carolina Panthers last weekend. The fail-safe plan involves the promotion of K.J. Osborn to WR2, but the club is expected to make a move in addition.

And when it finalizes the life-after-Thielen arrangement, don’t expect future Hall of Famer DeAndre Hopkins to become the solution.

Vikings Reportedly Not in Sweepstakes for All-Pro WR

Two sources told VikingsTerritory Tuesday that Minnesota is not a part of the Hopkins sweepstakes, citing a lack of speed from the soon-to-be 31-year-old as the primary reluctance.

Not in Sweepstakes
Dec 18, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) in the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Empower Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports.

Outwardly, the idea of pairing Hopkins in a Kevin O’Connell-led offense with Justin Jefferson, T.J. Hockenson, and Kirk Cousins seems tantalizing, but the club prefers a “burner” next to Jefferson, not a wide receiver authoring the final chapter of his career.

In that vein, the non-participation in the Hopkins Sweepstakes checks out. Thielen wasn’t overly fast down the stretch of his Vikings tenure, while the aforementioned Osborn isn’t known for cheetah-like speed. Younger and even more affordable wide receiver options may provide the Vikings with their speed request, perhaps still in free agency or the NFL draft in five weeks.

Nov 27, 2022; Glendale, Arizona, USA; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) celebrates after scoring a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers in the first half at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

Sportsline published odds for Hopkins’ next place of employment this week, and the Vikings are actually reasonably high on the list, likely because of the visible roster need:

  • Chiefs +300
  • Patriots +400
  • Browns +500
  • Ravens +600
  • Titans +900
  • Vikings +1000
  • Cowboys +1200
  • Packers +1300
  • Bills +1400
  • Falcons +1500

But Minnesota remains in rough salary cap shape, and even as Hopkins has expressed a desire to restructure his deal when arriving at his next NFL home, the pricetag would be too rich for the cash-strapped Vikings.

Nov 21, 2022; Mexico City, MEX; Arizona Cardinals wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins (10) speaks with field judge Michael Banks (72) in the first half against the San Francisco 49ers at Estadio Azteca. Mandatory Credit: Rob Schumacher-USA TODAY Sports.

Pro Football Focus shook up the Hopkins trade rumor mill, too, on Wednesday, claiming the Panthers — Thielen’s new team — would represent an apt landing spot. PFF’s Sam Monson wrote, “Hopkins has been the biggest name on the trading block all offseason, and in a year where elite receivers are hard to come by, he is still an option that must be tempting for several teams, even with his contract.”

“That contract, long seen as an outlier by the rest of the NFL, is significantly more palatable now than it was when he first received it, which could tempt some teams into parting with a draft pick to secure a No. 1 option,” Monson declared settling on Carolina as the ‘best fit.’

As for the Vikings other wide receiver options, free agent Mecole Hardman is reportedly in the mix. Citing a credible Twin Cities reporter, Vikings Central tweeted Monday, “According to Darren Wolfson, the Vikings and FA WR Mecole Hardman have had ‘casual’ talks involving a contract. Nothing is imminent but Hardman is a burner and can take tops off of defenses.”

Jan 16, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Mecole Hardman (17) and Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster (right) embrace following the AFC Wild Card playoff football game at GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Otherwise, Odell Beckham is still on the open market, along with former Detroit Lion D.J. Chark. Minnesota could also use early-round draft capital on “the next Thielen.”

But don’t count on Hopkins in purple.

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