What is the Vikings wide receiver outlook?
By: Jake Rajala
The Minnesota Vikings unequivocally have one of the NFL’s top wide receiver combinations with Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen. Of course, Jefferson was second in the league in receiving yards (with 1,616 yds) last season. Jefferson also had 27 catches of 20+ yards — which was good for second in the league. The former LSU WR hauled in 10 receiving TDs, too. Jefferson’s all-around performance garnered him a 90.1 grade by PFF. The Vikings-gifted WR1 is eligible for a contract extension after this season.
His partner, Adam Thielen, might be 31, but he has still honestly been an effective wideout at this stage in his career. He hauled in 10 touchdowns last season — after notching 14 receiving TDs in 2020. Thielen also recorded 925 receiving yds in 2020 and 726 receiving yds in 13 games a season ago. PFF handed the UDFA legend a modest 74.6 grade for his 2021 outcome. Thielen is still under contract in 2022, 2023, and 2024 with the Vikings.
The Vikings WR3, K.J. Osborn, should compete with Irv Smith Jr. as the biggest x-factor in the Vikings offense. Osborn unleashed 50 receptions, 655 receiving yds, and 7 TDs in his sophomore season. Osborn garnered a 64.9 grade by PFF. He has proven to be quite the steal as a fifth-round draft pick. They also will anticipate production from Ihmir Smith-Marsette — who ousted 116 receiving yds and 2 TDs last season.
All in all, the Vikings really have a superb WR group heading into the 2022 season. They should especially leach on the Lions and Bears pedestrian pass defense — as they proceed to help Kirk Cousins (35 passing TDs in 2020 and 33 passing TDs in 2021) return to the post-season.