The Vikings Named as a Top Trade Fit for Young, Dynamic Receiver

NFL: International Series-Denver Broncos at Jacksonville Jaguars
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Forced to guess, I’d say that most Vikings fans would welcome a move that involves bringing in another dynamic receiver. After all, Adam Thielen is down in Carolina, leaving K.J. Osborn as the heir apparent for the WR2 opening. Can the soon-to-be 4th-year wideout excel in that role? I’m of the belief that he can, but reasonable minds disagree.

Those who are more skeptical may be heartened to learn that the Vikings have been named as a top trade fit for an ultra talented receiver. Jerry Jeudy, currently with the Broncos, would likely push the Vikings’ offense to the next level.

The Fit Between the Vikings & Jerry Jeudy

Over on PFF, there is an article providing fits for some of the league’s main trade targets. Jerry Jeudy – who is still only 23 – is one such player. The list of teams to monitor includes the Patriots, Panthers, Texans, and (most importantly) the Vikings.

Take a peak at their assessment of the 2020 NFL Draft’s 15th selection:

Jeudy has been an elite separator in the NFL, excelling against man coverage, but has yet to fully realize his potential within a struggling offense. He may be limited to a No. 2 type of role in the NFL, but he can be an exceptionally effective receiver as part of a receiving corps in a more functional passing offense. Several teams would love to have him as a complement to their already established No. 1 option.

When they reminisce about that draft, Vikings fans collectively smile. The video of Rick Spielman laughing in real time as Philadelphia opts for Jalen Reagor (now a Viking) instead of Justin Jefferson is marvellous. The 22nd selection in the draft – Mr. Justin Jefferson – has gone on to put up historically great production in his 3 seasons, winning Offensive Player of the Year in the most recent one.

Feb 9, 2023; Phoenix, Arizona, US; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Justin Jefferson poses for a photo after receiving the award for AP Offensive Player during the NFL Honors award show at Symphony Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Now, the concern is simply that he’s going to somehow get even more attention from the other teams’ defenses. The man gets doubled consistently, so Minnesota needs to have other options when throwing to #18 just doesn’t make sense.

T.J. Hockenson – God bless him – has shouldered much of the load. Since moving from Detroit to the Twin Cities, Hockenson has been the #2 target in the passing game. He had 60 catches (86 targets) for 519 yards and 3 TDs in his 10 games with the Vikings.

Even still, the offense could use more firepower. That’s where Mr. Jeudy can enter the equation.

Last year, the Broncos’ receiver put up 67 catches, 972 yards, and 6 TDs. All represent career highs. In other words, Jeudy has done some good things, but he hasn’t produced at near the level of Jefferson. Nonetheless, Jeudy is an excellent receiver. Making him even more appealing for the Vikings is that he had a near even split between lining up in the slot and out wide. He was outside for 362 snaps and in the slot for 349 snaps.

He’s still playing on his rookie deal. A trade leaves behind a touch more than $2.1 million in Denver while bringing over just under $2.7 million for the acquiring team. By no means is this a prohibitive number, and yet there is also the reality that the 5th-year option is a decision that will need to be made. Can Minnesota exercise that option for both Jeudy and Jefferson? Doing so would need to simply be the precursor to extensions that alleviate the pressure on the 2024 budget.

Overall, Minnesota’s WR room isn’t super deep. The team has the best receiver on the planet and then another who has proven capable of producing 500-750 yards quite comfortably (and perhaps more with a larger role). Otherwise, there are depth options and unproven players.

Bringing Jerry Jeudy aboard would be a bold, aggressive move from Minnesota’s bold, aggressive GM. The NFL Draft is a bit more than a month away, and it’s an event that commonly sparks trades. We’ll see if Adofo-Mensah has something up his sleeve.

Editor’s Note: Information from Pro Football Reference, PFF, and Over the Cap helped with this piece.