The Minnesota Vikings have a top 5 receiving duo in the NFL. It is one of the strong suits of the team and gives quarterback Kirk Cousins a lot of options. After the top two positions, there are a lot of question marks. There are a few players who need to prove themselves this season or there are going to be guys that step up and take their place.
Here is the Vikings wide receiver preview ahead of the 2021 NFL season.
Justin Jefferson – The Vikings struck gold last year with Justin Jefferson. He made sure the entire NFL knew he was special last season breaking several rookie receiving records held by players like Randy Moss and Anquan Boldin.
Jefferson finished the season with 1400 yards, 7 touchdowns, and 88 receptions. His yardage total was the 4th most in the NFL. For comparison, DeAndre Hopkins had 1407 yards on 115 receptions with only 6 touchdowns. Imagine the production Jefferson would have had with that type of usage.
Entering the 2021 season Jefferson is expected to bring a lot of double teams. That will bring a big opportunity for a veteran on the roster looking to prove he is still a top wide receiver.
Adam Thielen – With all the hype around Justin Jefferson it is easy to forget about Adam Thielen. It wasn’t that long ago when Thielen made his mark on the NFL as a top receiver. Now he is the veteran portion of one of the best duos in the NFL.
His production last year was still good. Most importantly he proved to be a serious threat in the red zone. He failed to reach 1000 receiving yards with 925, but he twice as many touchdowns as Jefferson. In fact, Thielen caught so many touchdowns, that he was third in the NFL in receiving touchdowns last season.
That is what makes him and Jefferson such a dynamic duo. They can beat you up all around the field and finish the drive as well. The only downfall of this duo is the lack of a good third receiver. So we will see if that changes this season and who steps into that role.
Olabisi Johnson – Bisi Johnson is a decent candidate to be the 3rd wide receiver for the Vikings. He has never lived up to the hype so this year is his make or break it year for him as a solid rotational player. Last year he accumulated 189 yards on 14 receptions. He was inconsistent and took a step back from the 2019 season.
Chad Beebe – Chad Beebe is in a very similar situation to Bisi Johnson. He is a decent candidate to be the 3rd receiver as well. With that being said he isn’t someone that is going to be a serious threat from the position. The best hope for either of those two is that they can just provide competent play and catch over 90 percent of the balls thrown their way.
Ihmir Smith-Marsette – The rookie Ihmir Smith-Marsette is my favorite to win the WR3 position. He is having an excellent camp and provides the most upside to the team. In addition to being a receiver Smith-Marsette was an excellent returner at the University of Iowa. The Vikings had one of the worst special teams units last season and he could improve both the receiver room and special teams unit at the same time.
KJ Osborn – Speaking of bad special teams, KJ Osborn was supposed to be everything that I just described for Ihmir Smith-Marsette. He was a major disappointment. This is already a make-or-break year for him based on what we have seen from him. As a punt returner, Osborn struggled with ball security and averaged under 4 yards a punt. He was nonexistent as a receiver. He went from being a dual threat to a single threat. But wasn’t even a threat in the single thing he did for the team.