ESPN Recommends One Final Free Agent for Vikings

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The idea has been floated by Minnesota Vikings fans for about two months, and it appears to have gone mainstream.

ESPN Recommends One Final Free Agent for Vikings

That’s the notion of signing free-agent wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, who remains available on the open market. This week, while recommending one final free-agent addition for each NFL team, ESPN recommended Renfrow for Minnesota, a marriage that would likely plop the veteran wideout on the Vikings’ roster as a WR3.

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ESPN’s Aaron Schatz explained about the purple WR situation while advocating for Renfrow, “Brandon Powell had an average receiving DVOA on 44 targets in 2023, but his 324 receiving yards represented a career high after six years in the league. There are a lot of inexperienced players after him on the depth chart, plus veteran Trent Sherfield, who had just 11 catches in Buffalo last season.”

The Vikings added one semi-prominent wide receiver in free agency three months ago — Trent Sherfield, though it’s unclear if he’ll win the WR3 job this summer.

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“Minnesota could use a veteran slot receiver who knows how to get open underneath while Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are stretching defenses. Randall Cobb would be another possibility, although he turns 34 in August,” Schatz added.

For now, the Vikings are on deck to showcase a summer camp battle at WR3 between Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield, and Jalen Nailor. Six more wideouts, too, will vie for roster spots after Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at the top of the ticket.

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Renfrow had 1,038 receiving yards in 2021, which wasn’t terribly long ago. The production has diminished since, but he has that volume gene in his DNA. Conveniently, Renfrow is a free agent, and many wonder why no team has taken the plunge for his services as a WR3 or WR4. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah selected zero wide receivers during the draft, even though the event was filled with promising WR3 types.

Otherwise, if Renfrow doesn’t interest the Vikings, a handful of free-agent wideouts are available — like Michael Thomas or Julio Jones. Minnesota could also have quiet plans to promote someone not named Nailor, Powell, or Sherfield. Men like Thayer Thomas, Trishton Jackson, or an undrafted free agent from this year could emerge.

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Identifying a WR3 — even if it’s one from the current depth chart — is paramount because Minnesota will likely start the 2024 campaign without tight end T.J. Hockenson. He’s recovering from a torn ACL and might miss the first month or two of the season. When healthy, per target load, Hockenson is basically Minnesota’s WR3.

Renfrow will turn 29 in December.

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).

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