5 wide receivers the Vikings could select in the NFL Draft

Could Rashod Bateman stay in Minnesota?
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Rashod Bateman

The Minnesota Vikings found gold when they selected Justin Jefferson with the 22nd overall pick in last year's draft. With Jefferson breaking franchise and NFL records and Adam Thielen on the other side, the Vikings have one of the best wide receiver duos in the NFL.

While the Vikings have two superstars at receiver, the rest of the depth chart is a concern. Chad Beebe and Bisi Johnson are the two notable names on the roster but neither of them have the potential to be the third weapon that the Vikings need.

Instead, the Vikings could look to a receiver class that isn't as loaded as last year's but still has plenty of talent. LSU's Ja'Marr Chase is projected to go in the top 10 but there will be options for the Vikings either at the No. 14 pick or later in the draft.

Devonta Smith

There is at least one prospect in every draft that sees their stock plummet. This year's candidate is Smith, who dominated at Alabama but has started to fall due to his size.

Smith stands at 6-foot-1 but weighs only 170 pounds. That didn't seem to matter last season when Smith caught 117 passes for 1,856 yards and 23 touchdowns. 

Aside from being the first receiver to win the Heisman Trophy since Desmond Howard (1991), his season ended by shredding Ohio State's secondary for 215 yards and three touchdowns in the first half of the CFP National Championship game.

With his weight being his only concern, Smith could be a steal for the Vikings if he falls to 14.

Rashod Bateman

After starring in three seasons with the Gophers, Bateman has all the tools to become a dominant NFL receiver. At 6-foot and 190 pounds, Bateman plays much bigger as a physical receiver that can rack up yards after the catch.

Bateman also has the ability to get open off the line of scrimmage to set him up for shots downfield. The former four-star recruit did that a lot in 2019, connecting with Tanner Morgan for 19 receptions over 20 yards.

Some consider Bateman's speed to be a weakness, but he ripped off a 4.39-second 40-yard dash during his pro day. Others will be scared off by his 2020 season, which was affected by a summer battle with COVID-19.

With a set of dominant traits, Bateman has the tools to be this year's Jefferson as a receiver that comes off the board later than he should.

Jaylen Waddle

One of the biggest knocks on the Vikings' offense is a lack of creativity. With Jefferson and Thielen locked into their roles, the Vikings' idea of a trick play was running a reverse to Beebe.

The chances of Beebe's speed (or lack thereof) giving defenses nightmares aren't great. If the Vikings really want to add some explosiveness to their offense, they could put Waddle in that role.

The Alabama speedster played in just four games last season but went over 100 yards in all of them. A key reason was his ability as a deep threat, where PFF charted him with six receptions and three touchdowns on seven targets.

Waddle will be known for his speed but his ability to get physical with defenders and win at the catch point could make him an elite player. At 5-foot-10 and 182 pounds, that physicality and ability to win in contested situations draw comparisons to Tyreek Hill.

If the Vikings wanted to use Waddle as a third receiver, he could be used as a deep threat in an offense that loves to take shots downfield. A threat to score at any time, Waddle could open things up for the rest of the offense.

Terrace Marshall Jr.

With Chase and Jefferson stealing the headlines, Marshall is the forgotten receiver in the LSU offense. Although he played in just seven games for the Tigers before opting out, he showed enough in 2020 to think that won't be the case for long.

Marshall stands at 6-foot-3 and 205 pounds but he has blazing speed that produced a 4.38-second 40-yard dash. PFF also charted Marshall with an 82 percent catch rate on contested catches.

At 20 years old, there's plenty of room for Marshall to improve his game. With Thielen turning 31 in August and holding a $16.9 million cap hit in 2022, the Vikings could see Marshall as his replacement.

Tylan Wallace

The late-first to early-second round prospects such as Kadarius Toney, Rondale Moore and Amon-Ra St. Brown are intriguing but the Vikings could be better served to add Wallace.

Wallace's 2018 season was a thing of beauty as he collected 86 catches for 1,491 yards and 12 touchdowns. He was on his way to an encore in 2019 but tore his ACL after nine games.

Wallace showed no side effects from the injury last season finishing ninth in the country (min. 200 routes run) with 3.26 yards per route. A receiver that is aggressive at the catch point, Wallace could be a steal for the Vikings in the second or third round.

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