Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen are the two best wide receivers on the Vikings' roster, but there should be plenty of competition for the third wide receiver job when the Vikings open training camp this week.
- Laquon Treadwell
- Chad Beebe
- Brandon Zylstra
- Dillon Mitchell
- Olabisi Johnson
- Jordan Taylor
- Davion Davis
- Alexander Hollins
- Jeff Badet
"You got a lot of guys who are competing for spots on this roster," said wide receivers coach Drew Petzing in an interview with Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall.
The players realistically competing for the job are Treadwell, Beebe, Zylstra, Taylor, Mitchell and Johnson, although it's not uncommon for a dark horse to emerge. Just look at Beebe a year ago, who was signed to the practice squad after impressing as an undrafted free agent.
A year later – with no injuries to boot – Beebe appears to be gaining traction as a favorite to win the third wide receiver job.
Treadwell has the first-round pedigree but hasn't lived up to the hype he generated in college. He had just 35 receptions for 302 yards and a touchdown in his third season in 2018, and the Vikings did not pick up a fifth-year option before the spring deadline.
During an interview between Vikings.com's Mike Wobschall and wide receivers coach Drew Petzing, not once was Treadwell's name brought up. But Petzing did talk specifically about Beebe, comparing his work ethic and attention to detail to Diggs and Thielen.
Beebe, the son of former Buffalo Bills star Don Beebe, also caught associate head coach Gary Kubiak's attention during spring practices.
“I think you also got to look at the fact that [Beebe] has had probably as good of an offseason as any player that I know on our side of the ball,” Kubiak told Vikings.com's Eric Smith. “He’s got a chance to be a really good player for us, so it gives us flexibility to bounce around personnel wise.”
Beebe isn't all pre-training camp hype. He's also a logical favorite because he's had a year to work with the offense, which is now in the hands of Kevin Stefanski, who took over as offensive coordinator after John DeFilippo was fired midway through last season.
Zylstra, a native of Spicer, Minnesota, can say the same, whereas Taylor and the rookie seventh-round picks, Mitchell and Johnson, are as green as they get. Still though, Petzing likes what he's seen from the rookies.
"As you watch their game tape, you start to see those things and say 'hey, that's something that would make us a better team.' You saw it on their college tape and they come in here for that rookie minicamp and throughout this offseason, and it shows up time and time again," said Petzing.
"Route running ability, athletic ability at the top of your routes, making big catches, making big plays down the field. All of those things are what excited us then and are still exciting us now."
Treadwell still has a chance to make a big jump, but playing 2019 on a lame-duck contract means the chances he doesn't make the 53-man roster are just as high.
Training camp begins this week, with the first public practice set for Friday in at Twin Cities Orthopedics Center in Eagan.