5 wide receivers the Vikings could draft in the second round

This year's class should provide talent into the second round.
Author:
Publish date:
Rick Spielman, Zygi Wilf

The Minnesota Vikings need depth at the receiver position and the 2020 NFL Draft class is a great place to find it. While there are several big names in the first round, the Vikings could be just as good waiting until the second to get a player that can contribute.

Even with the Vikings' signing of Tajae Sharpe on Wednesday, they will still need to find some talent to add to their stable. If the Vikings do wait, here are some names they could call in the second round of the draft.

Laviska Shenault Jr.

Shenault was one of the top names at the wide receiver class prior to the 2019 season. With 86 receptions, 1,011 yards and six touchdowns for Colorado in his sophomore year, many were expecting another step forward for someone who could be a top-10 selection in this draft.

Then the injuries came. Shenault missed three games due to injury in 2018 and two more with a core injury in 2019 which led to a disappointing 4.58-second 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Shortly after, Shenault announced he would undergo surgery on the nagging core issue and be out four-to-six weeks.

The hope is the surgery will clear everything up, but teams won't have a clear read on him thanks to the closing of all team headquarters due to coronavirus. But when scouts flip on the tape, they'll be able to see Shenault's game-breaking talent.

If Shenault didn't get hurt, he would be at least a first-round pick in this draft. For a team like the Vikings, adding a playmaker of his caliber would give Gary Kubiak's offense another dimension of explosiveness.

Denzel Mims

As the Vikings' first-round pick in Mel Kiper's latest mock draft, there's a good chance Mims may not make it to the second round. But in case the board falls in Minnesota's favor, they could get a steal by landing the Baylor product.

As a three-year starter for the Bears, Mims put up a pair of 1,000-yard seasons and compiled 28 touchdowns including 12 in his senior season. Mims followed it up by becoming a star at the Senior Bowl and doubled down at the combine, posting a 4.38-second 40-yard dash and 38.5-inch vertical.

There are some concerns with his route running, but those should be polished up with coaching. Mims is a more physical presence than Stefon Diggs was with the Vikings and if he can learn to gain separation consistently, he can be a strong possession weapon for the Vikings' offense.

Brandon Aiyuk

If the Vikings are looking for someone to get the ball in their hands and make something happen, Aiyuk would be a great fit. The Arizona State product is coming off a productive senior season (1,192 yards, 8 TD) and has many skills similar to former Viking Cordarrelle Patterson.

That doesn't mean that Aiyuk is as raw as Patterson was coming out of Tennessee. While Patterson saw most of his touches manufactured, Aiyuk has enough route-running savvy to break away from defenders and go deep for a big play.

With a second gear that can turn any play into a touchdown, Aiyuk will be in high demand heading into the second round. Aiyuk's kick return ability would also make him an intriguing player for the Vikings.

K.J. Hamler

While the Vikings have a pair of receivers with sure hands in Thielen and Sharpe, they still need to find a player with some explosiveness. While the first targets here represent bigger options that can play on the outside, Hamler could be a target with intentions of using him in the slot.

Hamler isn't the biggest receiver at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds, but he's able to win thanks to his elite route-running ability. With Kirk Cousins reluctant to put up 50/50 balls at times, this would be great with the added bonus of what happens when Hamler gets the ball in his hands.

While Hamler didn't run at the combine, he showed burst on the field that helps create big plays and get downfield. The Vikings used two tight ends for a majority of their snaps last season, but that could be because they didn't have a quality option like Hamler in the slot.

Tee Higgins

A lot of the second round options are explosive players, but Higgins ranks on the opposite end of the spectrum. While he doesn't have the speed that the other options have, he's more of a physical receiver that wins on contested catches.

That doesn't mean he can't get open on his athleticism. Higgins is a quality route runner and finds ways to create separation for downfield gains while also being a beautiful fade target.

The question with Higgins would be if he's a fit for what the Vikings want to do. While he can get open downfield, the Vikings probably want someone with more speed on the outside, similar to what Diggs brought to the offense. 

Next Up

Related