5 wide receivers the Vikings could aim for in the first round of the NFL Draft

This year's class has elite talent at the wide receiver position.
Author:
Publish date:
Justin Jefferson

LSU wide receiver Justin Jefferson. 

After a slew of departures during the NFL offseason, the Minnesota Vikings will look to rebuild on the fly in the NFL Draft. While some of the names leaving Minnesota were expected, the bombshell came when Stefon Diggs was traded to the Buffalo Bills.

With the 2020 NFL Draft class being compared on a historical level, it makes some sense to trade Diggs in hopes of a cheaper piece in the passing game. But who are some of the names they could target?

In this three-part series, we'll look at some of the names to keep an eye on and how they can help the Vikings rebound in life after Diggs, starting with the best-of-the-best in the pre-draft rankings. 

Jerry Jeudy

If the Vikings are looking in a playmaker similar to what Diggs brought to the field, Jeudy should be the guy they're looking for. As a route-running maestro, Jeudy does the little things that help him get open downfield, which would be a blessing for Kirk Cousins.

While he serves as a game-changing receiver, he also has previous experience sharing the load. With an Alabama roster that contained another first-round draft prospect and 2021 prospects Jalen Waddle and Devonta Smith, Jeudy took one for the team and still posted 1,163 yards and 10 touchdowns last season.

The bad news regarding Jeudy is that the Vikings will have to trade up to get him. With the consensus seemingly pairing Jeudy with the San Francisco 49ers, it might take both first-round picks to bring him to Minnesota. This price may be too steep for a team with as many holes as the Vikings currently have.

Henry Ruggs III

While Jeudy catches the headlines, Ruggs profiles as the "other" Alabama receiver in this draft. That's not a bad thing considering Ruggs got his stats with 746 yards and seven touchdowns in his final season in Tuscaloosa.

What makes Ruggs a potentially better fit than Jeudy is his willingness to do whatever it takes to win. Whether it's throwing a block downfield or even contributing on special teams, Ruggs goes all-in for the good of the team.

Last season, Diggs didn't hold back his disappointment in Minnesota focusing on the run rather than utilizing him and Adam Theilen the way the 2018 offense did. With Ruggs being an elite deep threat who scored 24 touchdowns on 98 receptions, he can fill that role while also taking heat off Thielen.

Cee Dee Lamb

The other top receiving option is Lamb, who many have side-by-side with Jeudy for the top receiver in this class. While Jeudy is a complete receiver in terms of getting deep and creating separation, there are aspects of Lamb's game that need improvement.

That's not to say there's a huge drop off between the two. Lamb posted a 4.50-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine and that translates on the field as a big-play machine after the catch.

Lamb's 3,292 yards and 32 touchdowns at Oklahoma may have also been part of a pass-happy offense and Big 12 defenses, but he's a playmaker who could give the Vikings a more explosive wrinkle. The problem here is that very few projections have him falling out of the top 15 picks, and Minnesota doesn't go on-the-clock until picks 22 and 25. 

Justin Jefferson

On a statistical level, nobody in the country was better than Jefferson in 2019. Fueled by a historic LSU offense and quarterback Joe Burrow, Jefferson led the nation in receptions (111), was second in touchdowns (18) and third in receiving yards (1,540).

Stats are one thing, but traits on the field are another. Jefferson has shown the ability to go get the ball even in tight windows and with the speed that recorded a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine, he can get open and make big plays.

Another big-bodied receiver across from Thielen would be nice, but his versatility on the field would be another bonus. As someone that could line up in the slot, Jefferson's addition would also help either Bisi Johnson, Tajae Sharpe or another draft pick carve out a role in the offense.

Jalen Reagor

The chances are good you didn't hear much about Reagor's junior season at TCU. With just 611 yards in 2019, chances are also good you might not be thrilled with the prospect of taking him early. But he's a big-play threat who could help make defenses honest when playing the Vikings.

Although he stands at just 5-foot-11 and 206 pounds, Reagor could be a menace in the slot and help the Vikings be more explosive. 

His biggest calling card is his ability to strike quickly with a burst score of 140.4 from PlayerProfiler. For context on what that means, anything over 130 is considered extraordinary for a wide receiver.

With the added ability to go up and get the ball with a 42-inch vertical, Reagor's professional numbers should be much better than his college numbers were.

Next Up

Related