One Vikings WR Theory Could Be Toast

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The Minnesota Vikings fired up one noteworthy veteran addition at wide receiver this offseason — Trent Sherfield from the Buffalo Bills.

One Vikings WR Theory Could Be Toast

Sherfield joined a team in the Vikings three months ago that needed to upgrade its WR3 spot after K.J. Osborn signed with the New England Patriots, and the franchise has plenty of names to choose from on the existing roster, including Brandon Powell, Jalen Nailor, and about six more undrafted free agents.

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But Sherfield may not get the nod at WR3, according to The Athletic’s Alec Lewis. Minnesota ended minicamp about a week and a half ago, with training camp now less than one month away. According to Lewis, Sherfield didn’t seem like a WR3 type at minicamp, a theory that checks out because he’s never really owned a WR3 job in his previous four stops.

Lewis sized up all 90 Vikings players last week and opined on Sherfield, “Big-bodied but not fleet of foot. It’s hard to see him sliding into the No. 3 receiver role.”

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The subsequent Lewis forecasts for Powell or Nailor, the other two contenders for WR3, weren’t incredibly high either, so Minnesota may simply have to watch as the best man wins the battle. Additionally, free agency still offers a handful of names like Hunter Renfrow, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones, among others.

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 the aforementioned three-horse race (Powell, Nailor, Sherfield) this summer for WR3.

Called On for Pro
Minnesota Wide Receivers Coach Keenan McCardell addressed the media from the TCO Performance Center. McCardell joined the Vikings in 2021 as wide receivers coach and is credited with helping to develop Justin Jefferson and others.

Most Vikings fans have settled on Powell as the probable WR3. 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) T.J. Hockenson will likely miss the start of the season, heightening WR3 importance.

Last month, ESPN wrote favorably about one of Sherfield’s would-be WR3 counterparts while forecasting surprise players from each NFL team. Kevin Seifert nominated Powell as a surprise candidate and explained, “During the O’Connell era, the Vikings’ base offense has been 11 personnel, which generally means three receivers. So unless O’Connell is going to dramatically change that approach in his third season, there is a significant need for a third player to complement Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison in the receiving corps.”

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He added, “Powell filled that role well last season when Jefferson missed time with a hamstring injury, and he has a strong chance to earn a more permanent role there in 2024.”

If you have Sherfield as the third wide receiver on Minnesota’s 2024 roster, it might be time to find an eraser.

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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