It just got worse.
After news broke that three Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks would have to isolate for at least the next five days due to a positive case of COVID-19, the Vikings suffered another loss Saturday.
Third-year wide receiver Bisi Johnson suffered a torn ACL in training camp on Friday, NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported.
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Competition For 3rd WR Spot Shifts
He’s started in nine games in the past two years and has proven reliable backup to the outside receivers in the Vikings’ scheme.
A third-year talent, Johnson was poised to compete for the No. 3 wide receiver role in the offense. With news of his injury, that training camp battle has narrowed.
Chad Beebe served as the slot receiver last season and is the most experienced receiver with Minnesota’s offense entering his fourth season with the team.
Speedy fourth-round rookie wide receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette possesses top-end speed that could make him a dangerous weapon, while recently signed veteran Dede Westbrook is slowly coming along after coming back from a torn ACL in 2020.
Sophomore WR Showing Drastic Improvement
Through the first four days of training camp, the favorite for the No. 3 wide receiver role has been second-year player and former fifth-round pick K.J. Osborn.
Osborn, who didn’t play a single offensive snap a season ago, fell from many fans’ good graces after struggling as a returner as a rookie last season. He fumbled two punts and produced a measly average of just 3.9 yards per punt return.
But Osborn has progressed this offseason, thanks to working out in Florida with some of the league’s top receivers in Jarvis Landry, Stefon Diggs and teammate Justin Jefferson.
“Going into Year 2, I feel a lot more comfortable going out there and just being myself,” Osborn said in a press conference, adding that the competition improves the wide receivers room as a whole. “We’re all coming out here competing and trying to get this team where we want to.”
Osborn shined at the Vikings’ annual night practice on Saturday, catching a deep shot from quarterback Jake Browning.
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Free-Agent WR En Route?
With Johnson out for the year and bound for the Vikings’ injured reserve list, Minnesota will have an open spot on the 90-man roster, which they could fill by signing another veteran wide receiver in free agency.
Larry Fitzgerald remains a free agent after not re-signing with the Arizona Cardinals yet this offseason. There’s a possibility Fitzgerald is entertaining retirement as well. Golden Tate is also on the market along with a variety of veteran weapons in Alshon Jeffery, Marqise Lee, Dez Bryant and D’Anthony Thomas.
The Vikings could also use that roster spot to bring in a defensive end or offensive guard as the two more pressing positions entering the final month of the offseason.