The Vikings’ WR Room Looks … Disheartening

Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports.

Let’s be clear: there is no better wide receiver in the NFL than Justin Jefferson. Jordan Addison teaming up with him (although briefly) last season, may have created the top one-two punch in the NFL, but beyond that, Kevin O’Connell’s group leaves plenty to be desired.

The Vikings’ WR Room Looks … Disheartening

Last year, the Minnesota Vikings were ravaged by injuries at several positions, the two most notable being quarterback and wide receiver. Being without Kirk Cousins sank the season, but Justin Jefferson’s shelving did them no favors either. On the pass-catching front, though, the offense had some depth that appears to be discounted for 2024.

wr room
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports.

No matter who was under center, they had a star tight end in T.J. Hockenson. He will miss time this year, which means Robert Tonyan will be tasked with finding his former 11-touchdown self. The quarterbacks will have Jefferson and Addison this time around, but then they will be banking on a massive step forward for Brandon Powell.

A year ago, I loved the production Powell showed during his increased opportunity. He all but took over for the since-departed K.J. Osborn, but he was doing so as the fourth wide receiver who had elevated himself. Looking at Janik Eckhardt’s first roster projection for Minnesota, it’s hard to believe that the same sort of threat is emerging.

Sep 14, 2023; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Jalen Nailor (83) against the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports.

Jalen Nailor, a sixth-round pick in 2022, would be projected as the fourth wide receiver. Sure, that’s the same spot where Powell made his leap last year, but the Vikings offense needs more thump, with the tight end position being severely diminished. With 19 total targets and 12 receptions, it’s hard to believe that the Michigan State product will elevate significantly no matter what growth he has shown.

At different points during the offseason, it seemed as though the Vikings were well-positioned to add a tested third wide receiver. Making Powell a depth player again and allowing him to take over if needed seemed like a really solid decision. Hunter Renfrow has consistently been called a fit for Minnesota, but there has been no movement. There isn’t a need for a scrap heap addition, but someone like that who has shown they can produce at a high level would elevate the group as a whole.

Trent Sherfield, who played with the Buffalo Bills last season, has been the only addition to the roster, and his presence will hardly move the needle. A six-year veteran who has topped triple-digit yards just twice, Sherfield has been little more than an afterthought for the teams that have employed him thus far.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports.

Something about how the Vikings plan to utilize their wide receiver roster spots feels eerily similar to the running back group lacking depth heading into 2023. It would be unfortunate for the same type of outcome to rear its head.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.