Vikings Draft Thermometer: WR Tank Dell

Vikings Draft Thermometer: WR Tank Dell
Dec 23, 2022; Shreveport, Louisiana, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) reacts after scoring the game winning touchdown during the second half against the Louisiana-Lafayette Ragin' Cajuns in the 2022 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to the Vikings Draft Thermometer series, PurplePTSD‘s one-stop shop for all your 2023 NFL Draft needs. Throughout this series, we will be examining a number of prospects ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft, analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, what exactly their role could be at the NFL level, and most importantly, whether or not they could end up playing their first NFL snaps in a Vikings uniform. With that, let’s take a look at today’s prospect: Houston WR Tank Dell.


Nov 26, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) runs with the ball during the first quarter against the Tulsa Golden Hurricane at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
  • Height: 5’8″
  • Weight: 163 pounds
  • School: Houston
  • Games Watched: Cincinnati (2021), Memphis (2022), Tulane (2022)


Nov 19, 2022; Greenville, North Carolina, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Matthew Golden (10) is congratulated by wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) after this touchdown catch against the East Carolina Pirates during the second half at Dowdy-Ficklen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports
  • 2020: 29 receptions, 428 yards, 3 TDs (8 games)
  • 2021: 90 receptions, 1329 yards, 12 TDs (14 games)
  • 2022: 109 receptions, 1398 yards, 17 TDs (13 games)


Nov 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) celebrates his touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Temple Owls at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Right off the bat, Nathaniel “Tank” Dell will jump off the screen when you watch him play because of his speed. He has an incredible burst off the line of scrimmage, and he has multiple gears that he can activate when moving downfield.

However, there have been many fast slot receivers that come into the NFL. That doesn’t make Dell special. What does make him special is his combination of route running ability and his hands.

Dell can run just about any route in the book. He gets up to speed extremely quickly, but he can also cut and stop on a dime. Then, he has terrific hands that can help him make contested catches. He’ll be a walking big-play threat on any NFL offense.


Nov 12, 2022; Houston, Texas, USA; Temple Owls cornerback Dominick Hill (21) breaks up the pass to Houston Cougars wide receiver Nathaniel Dell (1) during the fourth quarter at TDECU Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

Despite his upside as a receiver, Dell will never be a WR1 in the NFL, or be able to play on the outside against bigger cornerbacks. His tiny 5’8″ and 160-165 pound frame will get pushed to the sideline whenever he tries to line up outside.

In addition to that, he won’t offer much of anything as a blocker when he isn’t the main target. Again, he simply doesn’t have the size and strength to hold off bigger defenders. He’ll be a receiver that defenses have to scheme for, especially as a deep threat, but other than that, his impact will be quite limited.

NFL Projections

  • Draft Round: Mid Third-Late Fourth
  • Immediate Role: WR3, deep threat out of the slot
  • Best-Case Scenario: Travis Benjamin
  • Vikings Draft Temperature (0= no interest, 100= get him a purple jersey right now): 60

The Minnesota Vikings have a need to acquire a speedy wide receiver this offseason to take some pressure of Justin Jefferson. Perhaps K.J. Osborn can do this on occasion, but I have my doubts about his consistency as a true starter. Being able to spell him with Tank Dell would be very beneficial to the Vikings offense.

Dell’s size will inevitably force him down the draft board, likely towards the end of Day Two and even into Day Three. This gives the Vikings plenty of time to fill other needs on their roster with early picks before selecting him, possibly with their No. 87 pick.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.