Takes a Swing at Vikings’ WR Mystery

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The Minnesota Vikings possess a handful of roster mysteries with mandatory minicamp 12 days away, including starters’ jobs at defensive tackle and cornerback. Takes a Swing at Vikings’ WR Mystery

On offense, too, the club does not have a clear-cut WR3 after K.J. Osborn signed with the New England Patriots two months ago, but has a theory on his replacement — newcomer free agent Trent Sherfield.

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Gregg Rosenthal projected starters for each NFC North team this week, and Sherfield checked in as the starting WR3 next to Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison at the top of the ticket. He explained about Minnesota’s wide receivers, “Keep an eye on Justin Jefferson’s contract talks, which could drag into the summer. Jordan Addison can be one of the best No. 2 receivers in football. I’m less concerned about the No. 3 spot (Brandon Powell is also an option), because T.J. Hockenson essentially will serve in that role once he’s back from a torn ACL.”

Sherfield joined the Vikings during free agency’s first wave. Here’s his NFL history:

  • Arizona Cardinals (2018–2020)
  • San Francisco 49ers (2021)
  • Miami Dolphins (2022)
  • Buffalo Bills (2023)
  • Minnesota Vikings (2024–present)
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Sherfield has played in 95 career games, gaining 141 targets in six years and accumulating 78 receptions for 930 yards and 5 touchdowns. With Josh Allen and friends in 2023, the 28-year-old was targeted just 22 times — akin to Johnny Mundt’s numbers with the 2023 Vikings.

The 2024 NFL Draft was loaded with WR3 types in the mid-to-late rounds, but Minnesota didn’t use a pick on one, so it’ll have a three-horse race this summer for WR3 between Jalen Nailor, Brandon Powell, and Sherfield.

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Most Vikings fans have settled on Powell as the probable WR3, making the Rosenthal prediction a bit noteworthy. And the position will be vital early in 2024 for two reasons a) Minnesota will showcase a new quarterback — Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy, and that man will need all the help he can get to succeed b) The Hockenson nugget mentioned by Rosenthal: Minnesota’s tight end will likely miss the start of the season, heightening WR3 importance.

Free agency still contains a few decent names if general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah decides to upgrade on Nailor, Powell, and Sherfield. Men like Hunter Renfrow, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones are available.

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Earlier this week, ESPN named Brandon Powell a “surprise candidate” for the 2024 Vikings, putting and that outfit somewhat at odds over the WR3 forecast.

The Vikings’ regular season kicks off in 108 days.

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