Vikings Receiving Corps Draws Impressive Ranking

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It’s top-heavy, but who really cares?

Vikings Receiving Corps Draws Impressive Ranking

That’s the unspoken word from Pro Football Focus this week, an outfit that ranked NFL teams by receiving corps. The Minnesota Vikings were handsomely represented, checking in at No. 6 in the league.

a successful season
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

Perhaps if Minnesota employed a more dependable WR3, the club could crack the Top 5, but such is not the case as of mid-June. PFF sandwiched the Vikings’ pass-catchers between the Houston Texans (No. 5) and Detroit Lions (No. 7), and Trevor Sikemma explained, “Justin Jefferson is PFF’s No. 1 receiver heading into the 2024 season. Jordan Addison flashed in 2023 as a good WR2 when healthy, and T.J. Hockenson has established himself as a top-five tight end, earning an 82.4 PFF receiving grade last season.”

For reference, these are the Vikings’ WRs as of June 20th:

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

Draft Grade from Last
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports.

And the TEs:

TE1: T.J. Hockenson
TE2: Josh Oliver
TE3: Johnny Mundt
TE4: Robert Tonyan
TE5: Nick Muse
TE6: N’Keal Harry
TE7: Trey Knox
TE8: Sammis Reyes

Sikkema added, “The Vikings added Aaron Jones to the depth chart this offseason, a productive pass-catcher over the past five years.”

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Jones could be the wildcard for Minnesota’s passing game. Since Kevin O’Connell took over two years ago, Vikings quarterbacks haven’t targeted running backs in the passing game as much as in the Mike Zimmer era.

Via, offensive coordinator Wes Phillips recently opined on Jones’ talents, “And then obviously, the playmaking ability on the field. He can pass protect, he can run routes out of the backfield, and he can obviously run the football, so a really big pickup for us.”

Consider this stat for the Vikings offense in the last five years.

Total Number of Receptions,
by Vikings’ RBs,
Last 5 Seasons:

2023 = 69
2022 = 66
2021 = 94
2020 = 75
2019 = 98

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s also worth noting that Minnesota’s receiving corps may not fly as high as possible out of the gate in 2024 for two reasons: a) Sam Darnold or J.J. McCarthy — probably Darnold — will be delivering the rock, and no one knows if either man will translate well to O’Connell’s offense b) Hockenson is likely to miss the start of the season while recovering from an ACL tear.

On PFF’s list, the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, and Philadelphia Eagles (in order) led the way for top receiving groups, with the Denver Broncos, Los Angeles Chargers, and New England Patriots in the basement.

The NFL regular season gets underway 11 weeks from tonight.

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