OBJ to Vikings Isn’t Happening. Minnesota Still Needs a WR2.

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The Minnesota Vikings have a glaring need at the wide receiver position after Adam Thielen’s departure for cap-saving reasons. Thielen had a down year in 2022, and given his age, it is fair to assume that his downward trajectory will continue. For that reason, Vikings GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah pulled the plug on his enormous contract.

However, that leads Justin Jefferson as the lone starting-caliber wide receiver on the team, with K.J. Osborn as a decent but inconsistent option. Of course, tight end T.J. Hockenson emerged as the second receiver in Minnesota’s 2022 season after arriving via trade. Another free agent, probably the best available, disappeared from the market on Sunday.

OBJ to Vikings Isn’t Happening. Minnesota Still Needs a WR2.

OBJ to Vikings Isn’t Happening, Minnesota Still Needs a WR2
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Odell Beckham Jr., once one of the brightest stars the NFL had to offer, was a free agent for all of 2022 and the first four weeks of free agency in 2023. He finally found a new home after agreeing to a contract with the Baltimore Ravens.

When he last stepped foot on an NFL field, OBJ helped the Los Angeles Rams to a Super Bowl title against the Cincinnati Bengals in February 2022. He racked up yards and even a touchdown early in the game but unfortunately suffered the second torn ACL of his career, which left him unable to play in the 2022 campaign.

Some pundits around the league suggested that he would be a great fit for the Vikings, and indeed, he would’ve been a wonderful addition. He could’ve feasted on the double teams opponents throw at Jefferson and taken some pressure off of him, as he often requires double teams as well.

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The problem is an obvious one. OBJ’s salary was a huge issue, as he reportedly agreed to a deal worth $18 million for just one season, and that was simply too much for the salary cap-strapped Vikings.

He will now join the Ravens without knowing who his next quarterback will be. Lamar Jackson is still a free agent even though he has been franchise tagged, but he requested a trade and hasn’t signed his tag yet. It’s entirely possible that he will catch passes from underwhelming passers like backup Tyler Huntley or a rookie, Hendon Hooker, who could be in play with the 22nd overall pick.

While it was probably wise not to throw $18 million at OBJ, the Vikings still need another wideout to pair with Jefferson. Osborn is a capable player and had 655 and 650 yards in the last two seasons, but most of those yards came in a few games, and he totally disappeared in others.

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The available free-agent receivers are extremely underwhelming. 30-year-old Jarvis Landry, who recorded his last 1,000-yard season in 2019 and didn’t even crack the 1,000 yards in the last two seasons combined, might be the best one. Another one is Julio Jones, who is 34 years old and similar to Landry, the future Hall of Famer hasn’t recorded more than 1,000 yards in a season since 2019. He only had 299 yards last season with Tom Brady in Tampa Bay.

Cardinals wideout DeAndre Hopkins could become available in the next few months either via trade or the Cardinals might release him because there isn’t a need for a rebuilding team to employ an aging and extremely expensive receiver. However, he would be, like OBJ, expensive.

Another WR to Circle
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The best way to find a receiver in the current situation is the draft, but there’s another problem – The Vikings only have five picks and don’t have the valuable second-rounder, the usual sweet spot to find a receiver. There are many other holes to fill with that one first-round selection, and a third-round receiver might not be the sure thing the franchise needs.

There’s a good chance that one of Quentin Johnston, Zay Flowers, Jordan Addison, and Josh Downs will become a Viking on April 27.

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