ESPN Echoes Top Roster Need for Vikings

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The Minnesota Vikings have a couple of roster needs, with less than four weeks before mandatory minicamp, including left guard — if Blake Brandel doesn’t do the trick — and WR3.

ESPN Echoes Top Roster Need for Vikings

Folks will get a verdict on Brandel if no additional offensive guards join the roster, but the WR3 spot seems further up in the air. And according to ESPN, that spot happens to be the Vikings’ top roster need at the moment.

Roster Need
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ESPN’s Aaron Schatz tabbed WR3 as the chief purple need and explained this week, “Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are an awesome team on the outside, but the Vikings’ receiving corps really falls off after those two. Brandon Powell is likely the starting slot receiver. He did manage an average DVOA on 44 targets in 2023, but his 324 receiving yards represented a career high after six years in the league.”

For context, these are Minnesota’s WRs at the moment (quantity isn’t a problem) —

WR1: Justin Jefferson
WR2: Jordan Addison
WR3: Brandon Powell
WR4: Trent Sherfield
WR5: Jalen Nailor
WR6: Lucky Jackson
WR7: Malik Knowles
WR8: Thayer Thomas
WR9: Trishton Jackson
WR10: N’Keal Harry
WR11: Ty James
WR12: Jeshaun Jones
WR13: Devron Harper

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Carolina Panthers
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Schatz added, “Trent Sherfield caught just 11 passes in Buffalo last season. Jalen Nailor has just 12 catches in two years for the Vikings. There are a lot of unknown names on this depth chart, and the Vikings would be the perfect team to give a call to an unsigned FA.”

The “WR3 debate” among Vikings fans — legitimized by ESPN — boils down to the trajectories of Powell, Sherfield, and Nailor. If one of those three is trustworthy enough to replace K.J. Osborn, who departed for the New England Patriots in March, the WR3 question is solved.

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If not, Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah has these options on the open market:

  • Randall Cobb
  • Russell Gage
  • Marquise Goodwin
  • Mecole Hardman
  • Deonte Harty
  • Julio Jones
  • Zay Jones
  • Hunter Renfrow
  • Sterling Shepard
  • Michael Thomas
  • Marquez Valdes-Scantling

Earlier this week, Pro Football Focus, too, labeled wide receiver as Minnesota’s top need, basically for the same reasoning provided by ESPN.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports.

Should the Vikings spring for an addition at wide receiver, time is of the essence. The market accelerated in the last week, with Tyler Boyd to the Tennessee Titans, Chase Claypool to the Buffalo Bills, DJ Chark to the Los Angeles Chargers, and Odell Beckham Jr. to the Miami Dolphins.

Allen Robinson joined the New York Giants, as well, on Thursday.

Minnesota has about $17 million in cap space before signing the 2024 draft class.

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,’ Basset Hounds, and The Doors (the band).

All statistics provided by Pro Football Reference / Stathead; all contractual information provided by