Vikings Reportedly Exploring Speed Demon WR

Big Vikings Rumblings
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Welcome to the next wave of NFL free agency, a spot where, if the Minnesota Vikings clear some cap space via trades or contractual restructuring, they can participate.

The Vikings have three primary roster needs as of March 19th — wide receiver, linebacker, and cornerback.

Vikings Reportedly Exploring Speed Demon WR

And they’re reportedly doing homework for at least one of those positions — wide receiver, and in particular, free-agent speedster Mecole Hardman.

Exploring Speed
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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.”

Hardman was the guy who ran a heatseeking 4.33-second 40-yard dash during his 2019 draft lead-up and was actually in line to “replace” Tyreek Hill, who was embattled at the time with off-the-field matters. Of course, Hill returned, Hardman was nowhere near as talented as Hill, and Hardman is now a free agent. The NFL circle of life.

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He turned 25 last week and will embark on career chapter No. 2 in mere days, and if Wolfson is correct, the Vikings are an honest-to-goodness potential landing spot. Minnesota could also have fingers in the Odell Beckham sweepstakes or be exploring free-agent wideout D.J. Chark for WR2 duties in 2023. Minnesota released Adam Thielen after 10 years of service on March 10th, meaning the club needs a replacement if K.J. Osborn and Jalen Nailor are not on deck for WR2 assignments.

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Hardman — well-known around the NFL because he’s a Patrick Mahomes target, two-time Super Bowl champion, and speed merchant — has been moderately productive through four seasons. He’s tabulated 151 receptions for 2,088 receiving yards and 16 touchdowns, with the best player in the sport feeding him the pigskin. Hardman was at the peak of his powers in 2021, notching 693 receiving yards and a couple of touchdowns while Hill was still in Kansas City.

Moreover, wide receivers haven’t broken the bank this offseason as they did during 2022 free agency. Hardman can likely be obtained by the Vikings — or any team — for about $5-9 million per season.

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Adding Hardman would make the Vikings room resemble this, at least for the moment:

  • WR1: Justin Jefferson
  • WR2: Mecole Hardman
  • WR3: K.J. Osborn
  • WR4: Jalen Nailor
  • WR5: Jalen Reagor

If Adofo-Mensah does not sign a free-agent wide receiver like Beckham, Chark, or Hardman, a pass-catcher will likely join the club in the first two rounds of April’s draft.

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).

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