How does Josh Doctson fit into the Vikings' offense?

Doctson was taken one spot before Laquon Treadwell in the 2016 draft.
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With the Vikings parting ways with former first-round pick Laquon Treadwell, they decided to take a chance on another first-round selection from the same draft, Josh Doctson.

Doctson was released by the Redskins on cutdown day after three seasons in Washington. Clearly the Vikings feel Doctson might be able to bring something to their offense that Treadwell couldn't.

If just comparing the two wide receivers, Doctson clearly has better numbers than Treadwell.

  • Doctson: 81 receptions, 1,100 yards, eight touchdowns, 13 yards per catch
  • Treadwell: 56 receptions, 517 yards, one touchdown, 12.9 yards per catch

Doctson also had the luxury of playing with Kirk Cousins when the quarterback was in Washington. In 2017, Doctson was targeted 78 times by Cousins, hauling in 35 catches for 502 yards and six touchdowns.

Those aren't eye-popping numbers by any means, but if getting that type of production from a third wide receiver behind the talented duo of Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs would be music to Minnesota's ears. 

Also, when you look at the wide receiver depth behind Thielen and Diggs, the Vikings basically have no one with NFL experience on their 53-man roster.

Chad Beebe has four-career receptions to his name and Olabisi Johnson is rookie. So even though Doctson hasn't lived up to first-round hype, he could still provide value to the Vikings.

And if Thielen and Diggs are getting double teams – like they were frequently last season – Doctson should be able to find some separation from defensive backs, especially in the red zone.

Of the eight career touchdowns Doctson has hauled in, six of them have come within the opponents' 20-yard line. 

  1. 52 yards 
  2. 11 yards 
  3. 1 yard 
  4. 14 yards 
  5. 14 yards 
  6. 48 yards 
  7. 2 yards 
  8. 6 yards

Not only could he be a nice red-zone target, his other two career touchdowns were big plays that stretched the field.

However, because Doctson was signed a week before the regular season begins, it might take him a couple of weeks to get acclimated to the offense, to the point where he might be inactive as he gets up to speed.

NFL Network's Tom Pelissero touched on that exact topic on SKOR North (KSTP-AM), saying Doctson could eventually be a valuable asset for the Vikings.

"This is a a bit of a flyer and frankly when you are a first-round bust type of a player, your second team better be some place you think that you can potentially go and have some success," said Pelissero. 

"When you play on a team that's got Adam Thielen and Stefon Diggs drawing a lot of the coverage, if you can get on the field – and that may take a little bit here, I wouldn't expect to see Doctson come out and play 50 snaps in Week 1 – you would think he's going to see more favorable matchups than he's had in quite a while."

But at the same time, it should come as caution that the Vikings have pulled off similar moves before.

Remember when Minnesota signed Michael Floyd looking to capture lightning in a bottle? Floyd ended up catching just 10 passes in his lone season back home and was a non-factor.

Same goes for when the Vikings traded for defensive backs Tremaine Brock and George Iloka in 2017 and 2018, respectively. They were promising acquisitions that never fulfilled on the field. 

Doctson is capable of added a boost to the offense, but don't be surprised if he's an afterthought or if his production is replaceable. 

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