Vikings Should Pass on 1 Important Position in Free Agency

Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah and head coach Kevin O'Connell at a Minnesota Timberwolves game in 2022.

On March 13th, the Minnesota Vikings and all other 31 NFL teams can begin talking to free agents with the expectation to sign players on March 15th. It’s legal tampering, and it’s 18 days away.

While Minnesota has oodles of roster needs this offseason — cornerback, off-ball linebacker, interior defensive line, wide receiver, and perhaps center — the club shouldn’t throw big money at every spot once cap space is available.

Vikings Should Pass on 1 Important Position in Free Agency

In particular, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah should avoid spending a pretty penny at wide receiver as the value isn’t as dazzling as other positions during this cycle. There are decent WRs on the open market, but none move the needle as a homerun acquisition.

Vikings Should Pass on
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Of course, no major hints suggest the Vikings are on the warpath for a WR2 in free agency, but many teams will entertain the idea. And Minnesota should sit this one out unless an affordable name graces the free-agent wire.

As of February 23rd, these are the top wide receivers available in free agency:

  • Odell Beckham (Rams)
  • D.J. Chark (Lions)
  • Allen Lazard (Packers)
  • Jakobi Meyers (Patriots)
  • JuJu Smith-Schuster (Chiefs)
  • Michael Thomas (Saints)
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And you know what? That list is peachy. Some teams will benefit from those players and transform them into productive fringe WR1s or sturdy WR2s. But it will come at a juicy pricetag.

Pro Football Focus projects nearly all of the players listed above to command at least $11 million per season on their next contract. Last offseason, Christain Kirk and the Jacksonville Jaguars kickstarted wide receiver festivities in free agency, paying the pass-catcher $72 million over four years. For the Vikings, this should be a no thanks.

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Make no mistake — Minnesota must improve at WR2 as opposing defenses continue to find methods of taming Justin Jefferson on Sundays. The tendency will only increase. The Vikings have Adam Thielen, K.J. Osborn, Jalen Reagor, and Jalen Nailor on the roster, and fans are unclear if any of those men have the 2023 forecast for upper-echelon WR2 responsibility. Maybe; maybe not.

Throwing money at a veteran, though, “just because” doesn’t seem sensible. This week, NFLAnalysis.Net’s Kenneth Teape published an article about Allen Lazard as a free-agent possibility for Minnesota. He wrote, “Coming off of a career season in 2022, Lazard would have an opportunity to continue that as a second option behind Jefferson.”

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“With the amount of attention that Jefferson commands, Lazard could have another big season. He has a little more explosiveness to offer than Thielen at this point and could thrive as a complementary piece after being thrown into the fire as the Packers’ quasi-No. 1 option this season,” Teape added.

Again, the spirit of the argument is great — improve at a roster weakness. But Lazard will land a four-year, $44 million deal somewhere (or thereabouts) and may not be a significant upgrade over Thielen or Osborn. He’s really just “somebody different.”

The Vikings must find a way to be the team that lands another receiver on an affordable contract, promote from within, or perhaps the best option — invest high-round draft capital in Jefferson’s next running mate this April.

Signing a WR in a few weeks “just to sign somebody” is ill-advised and doesn’t match Adofo-Mensah’s value philosophy.

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