Minnesota Vikings: How will wide receiver group play out?

Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports
Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports /

Known for their ground and pound approach in previous years, the Minnesota Vikings have finally seen some improvement out of their passing game these last two seasons.

Led by Teddy Bridgewater during the 2015-16 season, the Minnesota Vikings saw their first 3,000-yard passer since the days of the old gunslinger, Brett Favre. Last year, with a Bridgewater injury ending his season before it began, Minnesota reached a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles for the services of quarterback Sam Bradford. Man, did that pay dividends.

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After a 3,800-plus-yard passing season under two different offensive coordinators, the Vikings may be expecting even more with full implementation of Pat Shurmur’s system.

Minnesota, however, did lose some production at the position with Cordarrelle Patterson and Charles Johnson leaving the team in free agency. Now, with two active roster spots open for the taking, the competitiveness in camp should be hot and heavy.

Laquon Treadwell has been taking the snaps as the third wide receiver and has looked darn impressive thus far in OTAs. Though pads aren’t on yet, a physical wide receiver like Treadwell should thrive and further build momentum when that time comes.

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Not to be left out are the two remaining starting receivers in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen. Both reached the 900-yard plateau last season, just missing the 1,000-yard mark on the year. With Treadwell entering the game on three-receiver sets, it’s almost expected that we see Diggs move inside to the slot.

An addition that we cannot forget is the former first-round pick of the Arizona Cardinals, Michael Floyd. If Treadwell were to falter and regress, Floyd would surely get the opportunity to step in and provide that red zone target the Vikings have hoped for in the second-year wideout.

Also fighting for roster spots on the team are Jarius Wright, Rodney Adams, Stacy Coley, Mitch Mathews, Moritz Bohringer, Isaac Fruechte, Cayleb Jones, and R.J. Shelton.

Adams is almost a lock for a final roster slot with his kick return ability alone, providing somewhat of the same dynamic Patterson did when he was with the Vikings. Wright is an unknown as he found himself spending more time on the bench last year then at any point in his career. Stacy Coley provides the same skill set Wright does, and at a lower cost as a rookie. Minnesota may decide to move on from the veteran because of that.

The feel-good story from last year’s draft with “Mobo” may not gain any traction this year either, and he may be subject to being cut as well. Though he’s a physically gifted receiver, his lack of experience with talented players, inability to pick up the professional lingo, and drops have plagued him.

Projecting the final six to make the team is tough but here they are; Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen, Laquon Treadwell, Michael Floyd, Rodney Adams, and Stacy Coley. Not too shabby of a group if you ask me.

Look for Treadwell to make a mark in the NFL in Year 2, and his first touchdown to go along with maybe four more on the season. Minnesota will finally have a 1,000-yard receiver during the 2017 season, and Stefon Diggs will complete a full 16 games as Sam Bradford pushes for 4,000 yards passing on the season.

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Many expect to see this Vikings offense to take a deep dive with the loss of Adrian Peterson, but I expect the opposite. This will only benefit this franchise moving forward while providing the purple and gold faithful with some encouraging optimism rolling into September.