Vikings Could Pursue an Old Rumor in Free Agency

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. (13) takes the field before an NFL football game at FirstEnergy Stadium, Sunday, Oct. 17, 2021, in Cleveland, Ohio. © Jeff Lange / USA TODAY NETWORK.

The Minnesota Vikings exist in a familiar and harried spot with NFL free agency just one week away — a predicament with limited cash flow. Between now and March 13th, general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah will work to clear cap space with contractual restructuring, the release of veteran players, and perhaps a trade or two.

But once the money arrives, Minnesota could pursue an old rumor — the acquisition of wide receiver Odell Beckham.

Vikings Could Pursue an Old Rumor in Free Agency

Beckham won a Super Bowl with the Los Angeles Rams in 2021 but tore his ACL during the victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. From late summer of 2022 until the regular season’s final weeks, Beckham lived in the rumor mills of contendings teams, including the Vikings. The Beckham-to-Vikings rumor began as hardboiled gossip but turned quasi-real when Minnesota started the season 8-1.

Old Rumor
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The 30-year-old flirted with signing in Dallas, a team that didn’t appear to feign interest, but he ultimately sat out the 2022 season recovering from the injury. In 2023, though, Beckham is expected to return with a clean bill of health, and when he’s ready, Bleacher Report believes the Vikings could be a fit.

Bleacher Report’s David Kenyon explained the theory of Minnesota as a Beckham landing spot this week, “The final choice may be a slight surprise, given that the Minnesota Vikings’ financial outlook is tight. However, they might wind up releasing a handful of big-name players for cap reasons, including veteran wideout Adam Thielen. Minnesota could pair OBJ with friend and fellow LSU product Justin Jefferson.”

The Vikings Odds to Land Odell Beckham Jr.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports.

The Vikings might indeed need a WR2 running mate for phenom pass-catcher Justin Jefferson, especially if the franchise moves on from long-time wideout Adam Thielen, as theorized by Kenyon. The Minnesotan is scheduled to incur a $19.9 million cap hit against the Vikings books in 2023, a sum that may be too rich for the blood of Minnesota’s front office. And if Adofo-Mensah releases or trades Thielen, it is unclear if WR3 K.J. Osborn would become the automatic WR2 for the 2023 campaign.

On the other hand, Beckham would generate instant excitement in the Twin Cities, as he and Jefferson have long brokered a mutual admiration society. Both men attended LSU and have revered each other from afar for years.

Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports.

Beckham has played in the NFL for eight seasons, spending time with the New York Giants, Cleveland Browns, and Rams, tabulating 7,367 receiving yards on 531 receptions and 56 touchdowns. At age 30, Beckham likely has a few hurrahs left in the tank to stimulate a Super Bowl-contending team’s offense. Moreover, at this career juncture, Beckham seems interested in contenders-only and like a bit of a mercenary for hire. We shall see if his impending free agency follows the motto.

In the BR free agency piece, Kenyon also linked Beckham to the aforementioned Cowboys and Beckham’s former team, the Giants.

The Vikings were nominated as a landing spot for free-agent wide receiver D.J. Chark as well.

Beckham’s next contract will likely fetch $10-$13 million per season.

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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