Vikings Urged to Fill 1 More Slot

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The Minnesota Vikings have overhauled their roster in the 2024 offseason. To some capacity, those changes were forced because star players Kirk Cousins and Danielle Hunter chose other teams in free agency. Other areas were addressed strategically to get younger (LB Blake Cashman replaced Jordan Hicks) or better (RB Aaron Jones will take over from Alexander Mattison).

Vikings Urged to Fill 1 More Slot

Vikings Urged to Fill 1 More Slot
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Many smart additions play in the hands of defensive coordinator Brian Flores, who can now plan with more players who fit his scheme better than last season when he had to work with some leftovers from the previous two staffs. On offense, there will be four changes. J.J. McCarthy or Sam Darnold will start at quarterback, the aforementioned Jones hopes to revive the underwhelming rushing attack, Dalton Risner exited, and the Vikings have executed a strange plan to replace him. Wideout K.J. Osborn joined the New England Patriots.

A real replacement has yet to be signed. That, however, would be a good idea as that third option, besides Jordan Addison and Justin Jefferson, could feast against softer coverages. Osborn’s primary role was to play in the slot while the others made plays on the outside.

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Behind the two top targets, the Vikings employ punt returner Brandon Powell, who played well in Jefferson’s absence in 2023 but is better suited for the WR4 spot. 2022 sixth-rounder Jalen Nailor has struggled with injuries throughout his two seasons in the league and his collegiate career. Free agent addition Trent Sherfield has been a depth option rather than a contributor in the last couple of seasons.

ESPN writer Aaron Schatz chose one roster hole for each of the 32 NFL franchises, and the vacant slot WR job is his weakness for the Vikings.

Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison are an awesome team on the outside, but the Vikings’ receiving corps really falls off after those two. Brandon Powell is likely the starting slot receiver. He did manage an average DVOA on 44 targets in 2023, but his 324 receiving yards represented a career high after six years in the league. Trent Sherfield caught just 11 passes in Buffalo last season. Jalen Nailor has just 12 catches in two years for the Vikings. There are a lot of unknown names on this depth chart, and the Vikings would be the perfect team to give a call to an unsigned free agent.

Aaron Schatz, ESPN
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Signing a free agent is certainly an option, although some intriguing names have already disappeared from the market since the draft. Tyler Boyd joined the Tennessee Titans, Odell Beckham Jr. is teaming up with Tyreek Hill in Miami, and Allen Robinson can mentor Giants star rookie Malik Nabers.

Still available is slot specialist Hunter Renfrow, whose role slowly disappeared in Las Vegas after he tallied over 1,000 yards in 2021. He would fit the description of a wonderful route runner from the slot with sure hands perfectly and could be the necessary security blanket in the middle of the field as long as tight end T.J. Hockenson is sidelined.

He could fill the void left by Osborn’s departure.

Janik Eckardt is a football fan who likes numbers and stats. The Vikings became his favorite team despite their quarterback at the time, Christian Ponder. He is a walking soccer encyclopedia, loves watching sitcoms, and Classic rock is his music genre of choice. Follow him on Twitter if you like the Vikings: @JanikEckardt