Vikings Have a Frontrunner for WR3

2022 Vikings Betting Odds Tracker: Week 11
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The Minnesota Vikings have a handful of TBDs (to be determines) via roster spots at training camp and in the preseason, and none is arguably more noteworthy than WR3.

Vikings Have a Frontrunner for WR3

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, with men like Brandon Powell, Trent Sherfield, and Jalen Nailor, among roughly eight others, contending for the WR3 gig.

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And according to the Pioneer Press, Powell, who doubles as the Vikings’ punt returner, could be in the driver’s seat for the assignment.

Dane Mizutani wrote last week, “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.”

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The observation checks out, especially because Minnesota signed no other high-profile WR3 candidates after adding Sherfield in free agency. 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 cigar.

Last month, ESPN’s Kevin Seifert analyzed Minnesota’s offseason and 2024 trajectory, and when asked about the team’s biggest surprise on the horizon, he name-dropped 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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Seifert added, “Powell filled that role well last season when Jefferson missed time with a hamstring injury, and he has a strong chance to earn a more permanent role there in 2024.”

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.

Vikings Team Culture Can’t Be Matched 
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Powell also wasn’t afraid to pick fights with the Vikings’ rivals. In late November, after a loss to the Chicago Bears, Powell teed off on Chicago. “Man, the Chicago Bears defensive backs is trash. That’s just simple. They were trash. We just hurt ourselves, that’s all,” Powell told Star Tribune after the Vikings loss.

If Mizutani has it wrong, and the Vikings don’t fancy Sherfield or Nailor for the WR3 job, free agents like Hunter Renfrow, Michael Thomas, and Julio Jones remain available on the free-agent market.

But the recent buzz suggests Powell is the WR3 frontrunner, with the regular season 12 weeks away.

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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