Vikings

Chasing a WR3 Would Be a Waste of Resources

Photo credit: Brad Rempel (USA TODAY Sports)

Keelan Cole, Golden Tate, Curtis Samuel, David Moore, and Dede Westbrook are just some of the free-agent wide receivers I’ve seen proposed as Minnesota Vikings must-signs. People think the Vikings need a shiny new slot receiver, but I would argue they don’t, especially when the coach hates throwing the football.

There has never been a demand for a third receiving threat in Mike Zimmer’s seven seasons with the Vikings. Think about it: Jarius Wright has been the best WR3 since Zimmer arrived.

Sure, Minnesota could use a sure-handed slot guy, but why invest in it now of all times?

The Vikings are cap-strapped and have had to cut veterans like Kyle Rudolph, Dan Bailey, and Riley Reiff. In this current cap environment, they have chosen to prioritize other positions like the tight ends over the third receiver.

Would people rather see the Vikings choose a WR3 over a defensive need or offensive lineman? Because that’s what it would cost this year.

Besides, Kirk Cousins has done well with the weapons he’s had in Minnesota thanks to having two superstar receivers the entire time he’s been with the team. The main reason Stefon Diggs left is that he felt he wasn’t getting enough targets. In a run-heavy offense where you already have to satiate your top two receivers’ needs, why would we think that a third wide receiver would be in line for any sort of substantial targets?

And that’s before you factor in Cousins’ affinity for tight ends. In his three years as a starter in Washington, he consistently targeted Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis, using them as primary receiving options. He continued that trend to some degree with Rudolph in Minnesota, although he may have targeted him less because Thielen, Diggs, and Justin Jefferson are more productive players.

Now the Vikings have two new tight ends ready to take the reins from Rudolph. Both Irv Smith Jr. and Tyler Conklin proved they will be able to replace him next year. Both should become a safety valve for Cousins, and he should target them in the red zone. And given that Klint Kubiak inherited the offensive coordinator position from his dad, the tight ends will likely stay involved in the passing game.

Finally, let’s circle back to what we alluded to up top: Zimmer likely doesn’t even want one.

There are times that seems like he doesn’t even care about receivers. The only time I’ve ever seen him remotely excited about one was when he and Rick Spielman heard that Jefferson fell into their lap during the 2020 NFL Draft.

Zimmer has proven his philosophy is to run first and attack deep on offense. Cook is the unquestioned star and workhorse, and while he’s under contract, the passing game will always be secondary. Therefore, placing any effort into finding the third option of a secondary option seems unimportant given the Vikings’ current financial situation.

The philosophy going into the 2021-22 NFL season will be bolstering the offensive line and bringing the defense back to form. Don’t be surprised when the Vikings don’t bring in a third wide receiver.

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