With OTAs in full swing, Full Press Coverage continues their preview of the Minnesota Vikings roster. Today’s focus will be on the wide receiver group, led by Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs.
Returning Starters: Adam Thielen, Stefon Diggs
Returning Significant Rotation Players: Laquon Treadwell
Returning Depth: Chad Beebe, Brandon Zylstra, Jeff Badet
Veteran Additions: Jordan Taylor
Rookies: Dillon Mitchell, Olabisi Johnson, Davion Davis
In 2018, the Vikings featured arguably the NFL’s most dynamic duo at the receiver position in Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs. For the first time since the Randy Moss-Cris Carter era, the Vikings had a pair of receivers both cross the 1,000-yard mark.
Thielen started out with eight straight 100-yard games as he quickly became Kirk Cousins’ favorite target. Diggs had several big games, but more importantly, he finally had a relatively healthy season. However, both faded late in the year as teams began to roll bracket coverages and double teams towards them.
Beyond those two, Minnesota didn’t get much else from this group.
Treadwell has largely disappointed in his three years since being a 1st round draft choice in 2016. Despite setting career highs with 35 catches for 302 yards and his first career touchdown, he was plagued by untimely drops and was largely a nonfactor when the team needed him to step up. The team declined to pick up his fifth-year option, so he will be a free agent after this year.
Of the remaining returning receivers, Chad Beebe was the only one who had any kind of impact when given an opprotunity, but that was limited to one game. Zylstra was relegated to special teams while Badet spent the year on injured reserve.
Jordan Taylor is a free agent acquisition who brings size (6’5′) and a familiarity with the scheme that the Vikings will be installing for 2019. He played for Denver Broncos during the tail end of Gary Kubiak’s tenure there.
The Vikings also spent two of their four late-round selections on receivers to add further competition. The hope is that someone can provide a capable third option behind their dynamic duo.
Olabisi Johnson comes in with a reputation for being a solid route runner and experience for playing special teams. Dillon Mitchell may be the more explosive of the two rookies. But he will need to shake off the rumors of work ethic issues if he wants to earn a roster spot.
Overall, this position group will need to evolve beyond Thielen and Diggs. Whether it’s Treadwell making significant strides towards living up to his draft status or one of the rookies making an immediate impact, this group needs someone to step up behind their two star receivers to keep opposing defenses honest.