During the current doldrums of the NFL offseason, there has been plenty of speculation about how the Vikings will address the WR3 position. We’ve gotten in on that fun at various points. One intriguing option who has recently become available is Tyrell Williams, a player who would complement the Minnesota Vikings offense really well.
Adding Speed at WR3
For the most part, Rick Spielman’s recent bargain shopping at receiver hasn’t gone over well. Michael Floyd, Jordan Taylor, and Tajae Sharpe have all been non-factors for Minnesota. That being said, there has been a notable exception to this trend over the past few seasons: Aldrick Robinson.
Robinson didn’t set the world on fire, but he didn’t need to. He provided value simply because he had the capacity to take the top off the defense. Kirk Cousins has a great deep ball; get him players who can allow him to use that strength. Meanwhile, Justin Jefferson and Adam Thielen will have more room to operate. There would also be some benefit to Dalvin Cook since teams would be less inclined to bring a safety down into the box.
It’s this reasoning that leads me to believe that Williams is an intriguing option. As The Rams Wire explains, “The Raiders got one good season out of him, though, when he caught 42 passes for 651 yards and six touchdowns, a healthy average of 15.5 yards per reception – the fourth straight year he’s averaged at least 15 yards per catch.” He is still only 29 and is 6’4, 205.
For his entire career, Williams averages 16.1 yards per catch. Last season, a 16.1 YPC average would have been 9th best in the NFL (the spot is currently occupied by our good friend Justin Jefferson, who averaged 15.9 YPC). If Williams just returns to his usual self, Minnesota would be thrilled.
Having Williams in the offense would mean that opposing DCs are continually in an impossible scenario. There just aren’t enough defensive players on the field to be able to give Cook, Jefferson, Thielen, Williams, and Irv Smith the attention they demand. Defenses would constantly be trying to worry about being exploited horizontally and vertically. It would be an unenviable position for the opponent; it would be a delight for the Vikings.
The concern, of course, is Williams’ injury history and price. The one might take care of the other, though. How much can Williams really demand at this stage? His previous contract averaged more than $11 million per season. He lost his entire 2020 season to a torn labrum, though. We also shouldn’t forget that there are a ton of excellent receivers available in free agency. This is occurring at a time when teams have limited funds due to Covid. Not every receiver is going to get big money.
The Minnesota Vikings will likely be among several NFL teams who are interested in Tyrell Williams. Though they’ll very rightly look to improve the lines in free agency, Minnesota will also be looking to continue adding to the skill positions. Right or wrong, this is a team that is trying to win now. Expect them to attack free agency with a sense of urgency, especially given that Spielman’s and Zimmer’s jobs likely depend on 2021 success. Having another deep threat might be exactly what this offense needs.
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