Vikings Don’t Need Another Receiver

Let’s say the Vikings move on from Thielen this year. Lots of people on this site want the Vikings to draft a first round WR to help the offense out. I don’t think it is a good idea, the offense doesn’t need another receiver and the defense is so bad that they don’t have the luxury of making luxury picks. I would rather they trade down into the 2nd round and grab the top center in the draft than take a WR in the 1st.

The Offense Doesn’t Need a WR

The offense did just fine this year with Thielen as thr #2 WR and he really struggled to separate. He still has great hands but unless they schemed him open, there was never a ton of separation there. Plus his contested catch rate was bad. His yards after catch dropped by about 1.4 yards/catch and Kirk’s passer rating when targeting Thielen absolutely plummeted. Thielen wasn’t good. But the offense still ranked 5th in passing yards (partly due to volume). If you just yanked Thielen’s yards out of the total… they only drop to 13th. Of course that’s not how it works, someone else gets those targets.

Let’s assume 1/2 of the targets go to Osborn and 1/2 got to Nailor (in real life I’m sure some go to JJ and Hock but this is easier). Osborn had a slightly higher catch rate this year than Thielen, less depth of catch and significantly more YAC. Adding air yards and YAC per reception Osborn comes out slightly ahead, let’s say he basically does the same with his share of the Thielen targets as Thielen did. Nailor’s numbers all look better than Thielen’s because they’re mostly against scrubs and he’s running deeper routes. Small sample size theater. Let’s say with half of Thielen’s targets he gets 1/4 of Thielen’s yardage. If the Vikings missed out on 1/4 of Thielen’s yardage this season they would have dropped from 5th in passing yards to… still 5th.

JJ, Osborn and Nailor is still a top 10 receiving corp. With a top TE in Hock, they can easily still be a top 5 passing offense without a significant infusion of talent. I would refrain from throwing Reagor the ball, but he can mix in for a trick play every once in a while. They can add a cheap journeyman WR or another late round pick for depth. At this point McCardell has shown he can be trusted to coach up the WR depth and if he doesn’t take an OC position somewhere I would keep returning to that well.

The Team Has Bigger Needs

The problem with drafting a WR in the 1st round or throwing significant FA $ at the position isn’t really that it will keep Nailor or Osborn off of the field. The problem is opportunity cost.

I would argue that there are several different areas of need on offense that seriously outweigh another WR. Starting at center, they currently don’t have a starting caliber center on the roster. I think they will stick with the rest of their Oline, but they could easily improve their offense at guard more than at WR. You could even say RB if they trade/cut Cook.

On defense they need help basically everywhere. If you put a league average player at LB, slot corner, or FS this defense could see significant improvement. Last year, if the offense was 3rd or 4th in passing, but still terrible at defense.. would that be preferable to the defense improving to 23rd or 24th? No, absolutely not. Even if the offense takes a small step back, they would still be playing with a moderately bad defense.

There are absolutely times to double down on a strength. This is not one of those. If you have an average defense there is absolutely an argument to turning your offense into a juggernaut, but the best offense in the league can’t overcome this defense.

This FanPost was created by a registered user of The Daily Norseman, and does not necessarily reflect the views of the staff of the site. However, since this is a community, that view is no less important.