Vikings Pass Catchers Snubbed by NFL Analyst

David Reginek-USA TODAY Sports.

In recent seasons, the Minnesota Vikings’ strength has been their offense’s passing game, particularly since the arrival of head coach Kevin O’Connell and superstar wide receiver Justin Jefferson in the Twin Cities.

Vikings Pass Catchers Snubbed by NFL Analyst

Minnesota has some great playmakers on its roster, but the Vikings’ pass catchers have been snubbed by NFL analysts when it pertains to their top five pass-catching groups.

The analyst in question is NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks, a defensive back with the Green Bay Packers and other teams in the 1990s. Brooks decided the trio of Jefferson, Jordan Addison, and TJ Hockenson weren’t good enough to make his top five. Perhaps the lack of a genuine standout WR3 or Hockenson’s injury status played into the decision, but I struggle to make it to five better groups than the Vikings possess.

Who were Brooks’s top five?

  • Miami Dolphins
  • Philadelphia Eagles
  • Houston Texans
  • Chicago Bears
  • Seattle Seahawks

Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle are the best duo in the league at the moment. I don’t share Brooks’ enthusiasm for Miami’s addition of Odell Beckham Jr, but I take no issue with the Dolphins being in the number one spot.

The Eagles are at two with AJ Brown, DeVonta Smith, and Dallas Goedart, which is also fair enough, but this is where the Vikings should come into the conversation. Jefferson is better than Brown, and Addison’s rookie season surpassed Smith’s — despite four different starting QBs — but you can give the experience edge to the Eagle. Finally, Hockenson is at least on par with Goedert, so surely the Vikings come next?

pass catchers
Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Nope. Instead, we have the Texans with newly acquired Stefon Diggs, Nico Collins, Tank Dell, and Dalton Schultz. The depth of that foursome makes their third place credible. Fourth is the Chicago Bears, who have been busy helping D.J. Moore with the signing of veteran Keenan Allen and rookie Rome Odunze. That trio, along with Cole Kmet at TE, will give first-overall pick Caleb Williams plenty of options this season.

Finally, the group I really can’t buy that is better than the Vikings is the Seahawks. DK Metcalf, Tyler Lockett, and Jaxson Smith-Njigba are a good group, but the only rationale I can see for placing them above the Vikings is that they lack a WR3. Even so, give me Jefferson, Addison, and Hockenson every day.

WR3 Options

The Vikings roster has limited options for a WR3 who can complete seriously dangerous options. In-house, the competition is between Brandon Powell and Jalen Nailor. Powell will soon be 29 and has never held such a significant role in his NFL career. Minnesota will be looking for around 600 receiving yards from their WR3, and that’s what Powell has from his cumulative efforts since entering the league back in 2018.

wideout
Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

Nailor showed promise at the back end of his rookie campaign in 2022, leading to enthusiasm that we were about to see a breakout season in 2023. Instead, we got an injury-plagued season that produced just three catches for 29 yards. Staying healthy is Nailor’s first milestone, and if he can do that, the WR3 position is wide open for him to take.

The options on the free agency market are down to Hunter Renfrow, Russell Gage, Mecole Hardman, or Michael Thomas. Renfrow had a 1000-yard and nine-touchdown season back in 2021 on his way to the Pro Bowl. Two tranquil seasons since have lowered his stock, but the Vikings would be a good landing spot for the 28-year-old to restart his career. Achieving half of his career-best season would boost the Vikings’ offense and firmly put the Vikings in the conversation of any top five pass catcher groups.

If they aren’t there already, which they should be.


Share: