The upcoming developments for the Vikings - footballivenews
Connect with us

American Football

The upcoming developments for the Vikings



Justin Jefferson:
Despite missing seven weeks due to a hamstring injury during the 2023 NFL season, Justin Jefferson proved himself as one of the league’s premier wide receivers. In the initial five weeks, Jefferson led the NFL in receiving yards, and in the final three weeks, only CeeDee Lamb surpassed his yardage. In the half-season when he was fully healthy, Jefferson ranked among the top 20 in receiving yards, earned the third-highest grade among NFL receivers by PFF, and boasted an impressive 109.8 QB rating when targeted by Vikings quarterbacks. Even with the injury setback, it is evident that the Vikings will need to make Jefferson the highest-paid receiver in the NFL if they plan to extend his contract this offseason.

In terms of contract negotiations, Jefferson may aim to surpass Tyreek Hill’s $30 million per year, possibly looking at Nick Bosa’s $34 million annual figure as a benchmark. The focus will likely be on guaranteed dollars and contract length, with A.J. Brown holding the highest fully guaranteed money for a receiver at $56 million. Given Jefferson’s age, value, and accomplishments, he could argue for a contract exceeding any other receiver by a significant margin. A potential twist might involve Jefferson opting for a shorter-term deal, akin to DK Metcalf’s three-year, $72 million contract before the 2022 season, providing more control over his future amidst quarterback uncertainties.

Despite potential drama in contract negotiations, the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement favors teams, giving the Vikings a substantial advantage with the fifth-year option and two franchise tags available for the 2024 season. While trading Jefferson is an option, team owner Mark Wilf’s commitment to securing a contract suggests this scenario is highly unlikely.

Jordan Addison:
As the Vikings’ 2023 first-round pick, Jordan Addison had a promising rookie season, accumulating 911 yards on 70 receptions and scoring 10 touchdowns. Particularly noteworthy was Addison’s performance when Jefferson was sidelined, showcasing his reliability with 35 receptions and 437 yards during WR1’s absence. Among rookie receivers, Addison ranked third in yards, first in touchdowns, and fourth in receptions. With three more seasons on his rookie contract and the potential for continued growth, Addison, at just 22 years old, emerges as a crucial asset for the Vikings, providing an elite receiver duo alongside Jefferson at a cost-effective rate for the next few years.

KJ Osborn:
Despite high expectations for a breakout season, KJ Osborn’s 2023 did not unfold as anticipated. Initially considered a potential WR2, Osborn experienced a decline in receptions and yards, marking his lowest-graded season by PFF. Notably, Osborn’s 2023 was marred by an unexpected increase in dropped passes, registering seven drops, constituting 12.5% of his targets. As Osborn enters free agency, the Vikings may consider bringing him back at a reduced cost, but alternatives and upgrades should also be explored given the team’s frequent use of three-receiver personnel groupings.

Brandon Powell:
Originally brought in as a punt returner, Brandon Powell assumed a more prominent role as a receiver when Justin Jefferson faced an injury. Demonstrating versatility, Powell showcased improved route-running skills, particularly in a notable game against San Francisco. Finishing the season with 29 receptions for 324 yards and an average of 8.0 yards per punt return, Powell’s fit within Kevin O’Connell’s offense suggests a logical choice for receiving depth if retained in free agency.

Jalen Nailor:
Entering his third year on his rookie deal, Jalen Nailor faced setbacks with injuries throughout the 2023 season. With aspirations for Nailor to develop into a deep threat in 2024, the Vikings must carefully evaluate offseason decisions considering his injury history.

Trishton Jackson:
Despite intermittent appearances on the active roster, Trishton Jackson’s contributions remained limited during the 2023 season. Securing a spot through a future deal, Jackson will have an opportunity to compete for a roster spot in training camp next season.

TJ Hockenson:
Initially facing scrutiny for a contract extension during the season due to dropped passes, TJ Hockenson rebounded impressively. Finishing second in the NFL in total receptions, second in PFF grade, and fourth in yards per route run, Hockenson played a vital role in the offense during Jefferson’s absence. Unfortunately, his season was cut short by an ACL tear in Week 16. With a $14 million cap hit next season, the Vikings may consider restructuring Hockenson’s contract to lower the number.

Josh Oliver:
Josh Oliver, primarily acquired as a run-blocking tight end, exceeded expectations by ranking fourth in the NFL in run-blocking grade by PFF. Additionally, he contributed in the passing game with 22 receptions for 213 yards and two touchdowns. While his $2.5 million cap hit in 2023 was deemed cost-effective, his cap number increases to $6.1 million next season, prompting the Vikings to assess the overall impact of his strong run blocking on the rushing unit.

Johnny Mundt:
As the third tight end, Johnny Mundt had sporadic usage throughout most of the season. However, his role expanded in the last two games, recording nine receptions for 97 yards. As a free agent, Mundt could return, but he might also receive offers for a more substantial role elsewhere.

Nick Muse:
After an impressive camp, Nick Muse spent most of the season on the active roster but made only one appearance, catching one pass for a 22-yard gain against the Detroit Lions. As the 2022 seventh-rounder, Muse has the potential to compete for the TE3 role if Johnny Mundt leaves in free agency.

Free Agent Options:
Considering the Vikings’ need for a high-quality WR3 to complement Jefferson and Addison, several notable options in the free agent market include Josh Reynolds (Detroit), Marquise Brown (Baltimore), Darnell Mooney (Chicago), Van Jefferson (Atlanta), DJ Chark (Carolina), Nelson Agholor (Baltimore), Cedrick Wilson Jr. (Miami), Noah Brown (Houston), and Jauan Jennings (San Francisco).

Draft Options:
While the Vikings selected Jordan Addison in the previous draft, the team might consider mid-to-late-round selections for wide receivers, given the lack of development in the receiver pipeline. Potential mid-round picks, based on strong college performances, could include Rickey Pearsall (Florida), Brenden Rice (USC), Roman Wilson (Michigan), Jalen McMillan (Washington), and Jamari Thrash (Louisville).

The Bottom Line:
Jordan Addison’s rapid ascent to stardom has significant implications for the Vikings’ roster construction. With a top-notch partner for Jefferson secured, the team can focus on refining other areas in the receiver room rather than investing major assets. The primary storyline remains Jefferson’s contract negotiations, which will be closely monitored until a deal is finalized, signifying a crucial move for the Vikings’ future success.