Vikings Reportedly Not in Sweepstakes for All-Pro WR

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
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.

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.

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.”

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 OverTheCap.com.

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