Vikings Fans Know Who Will Win the WR3 Job

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The Minnesota Vikings will host a battle for WR3 in about three weeks when training camp gets hot and heavy.

Vikings Fans Know Who Will Win the WR3 Job

The primary contenders for the assignment are Jalen Nailor and Brandon Powell, with perhaps a side dish of free-agent addition Trent Sherfield.

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Left up to fans’ predictions, though, Powell is the number-one-with-a-bullet suitor for the gig. We polled VikingsTwitter this week, and around 60% opined that Powell would win the job when the dust settles on the summer.

The poll was unscientific, and 569 people replied.

The team’s WR3 from 2021 to 2023, K.J. Osborn, left the club this offseason for the New England Patriots, where he’ll vie for a similar job. Osborn’s departure created a roster opening in Minnesota. General manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah signed no other high-profile WR3 candidates after adding Sherfield in free agency.

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The 2024 NFL Draft, too, was stuffed to the gills with promising WR3 types, and Minnesota drafted exactly zero receivers during the event. Many fans, plus this website, assumed the purple team would spend a mid- or late-round draft choice on a wide receiver like Jamari Thrash or Luke McCaffrey. No luck.

Powell joined the Vikings last offseason as a free agent from O’Connell’s Los Angeles Rams days. He’s a tried-and-true playmaker who helped Minnesota knock off the Atlanta Falcons on the road last November thanks to a game-winning touchdown.

Overall in 2023, he banked 29 receptions for 324 receiving yards and the famous Atlanta paydirt. He was also the club’s punt returner last year, earning a trustworthy reputation for no fumbles and decent return production.

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Last month, the Pioneer Press got out ahead of fans with the Powell prediction, labeling the veteran as a frontrunner for WR3. Dane Mizutani wrote, “Who is going to take the spot up for grabs behind Jefferson and Addison? It looks like shifty receiver Brandon Powell is the leader in the clubhouse based on his amount of reps with the starters.”

And in May, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert analyzed Minnesota’s offseason and 2024 trajectory, and when asked about the team’s biggest surprise on the horizon, he mentioned Powell. “Wide receiver Brandon Powell. 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,” Seifert explained.

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If the Pioneer Press, ESPN, and the team’s fans have it wrong but Nailor or Sherfield don’t win the job, a few free-agent wide receivers, including Hunter Renfrow, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones, remain available. The Vikings have around $26 million in cap space at the moment.

Otherwise, left up to the masses as a prognostication, Powell is in the WR3 driver’s seat.

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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