Vikings Encouraged to Take Flier on $72 Million WR, Former Rival

Adofo-Mensah, O'Connell, Vikings

Getty Minnesota Vikings general manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah (left) and head coach Kevin O'Connell.

Several units of the Minnesota Vikings roster remain deficient and will need to be upgraded by value contracts as the team is strapped for salary cap space.

Second-chance players and reclamation projects ought to be the languages spoken among Vikings coaches and executives as they look to add to a thin wide receiver room.

Minnesota can either exercise All-Pro Justin Jefferson’s fifth-year option and lock him in through 2024 or try and extend him long-term now. K.J. Osborn is entering the fourth and final year of his rookie contract in 2023 and carries a cap hit of just $2.8 million. After that, however, there isn’t much to get excited about at the position unless Jalen Reagor gets your blood pumping. T.J. Hockenson is a prolific and talented enough pass-catcher at the tight end spot that he can be considered a wideout of sorts, but the Vikings are clearly at least one receiver shy of an adequate position group.

Just like Minnesota did with Reagor after a disappointing stint with the Philadelphia Eagles, the team could and arguably should take a flier on another wideout who has failed to live up to expectations in recent years — Kenny Golladay of the New York Giants.

Kenny Golladay Failed to Live up to Giants Contract After Strong Start in NFL

Kenny Golladay

GettyWide receiver Kenny Golladay, formerly of the New York Giants, warms up against the Minnesota Vikings in December 2022.

New York cut Golladay in March following two years with the team, saving $6.7 million against the salary cap with the move. The Giants signed the receiver to a four-year contract worth $72 million in 2021.

David Kenyon of Bleacher Report on Monday, April 17, projected Golladay will sign a one-year prove it deal with a franchise for the price of approximately $2.5 million as a bargain bin free agent:

Back in 2018 and 2019, Kenny Golladay surpassed the 1,000-yard mark and peaked at 11 touchdowns. That production then persuaded the New York Giants to give him a big-money contract. … Entering his age-30 season, the 2023 campaign is basically a make-or-break moment for Golladay.

The recent numbers are not encouraging; he caught just six passes last season. In theory, however, Golladay is still in the back end of his athletic prime. If there’s a moment for a resurgence, it should be now.

Kenny Golladay Offers Vikings Hope of Big Value on Minimal Contract

Kenny Golladay

GettyWide receiver Kenny Golladay, formerly of the New York Giants, in August 2021.

Golladay began his NFL career with the Detroit Lions as a third-round pick out of Northern Illinois. He earned Pro-Bowl honors in 2019 when he caught 65 passes for 1,190 yards and 11 touchdowns, per Pro Football Reference.

While Kenyon is correct that Golladay caught only six passes in 2022, the statistic is mildly misleading out of context. He appeared in only 12 games, during which he was targeted just 17 times. Golladay played a total of 261 offensive snaps last season as opposed to 666 snaps in 2021 and more than 900 snaps in each of his top two campaigns in Detroit.

The lack of playing time may have had something to do with a decline in skill. However, there was a total regime change in New York last season that welcomed in new general manager Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll. Golladay wasn’t on the field at all for long stretches early in the year, indicating a rift between the new organizational brass and a high-priced wideout they didn’t choose and perhaps weren’t interested in keeping around long-term.

Whatever the case was with the Giants, Golladay has shown a high-enough ceiling over a long enough sample size to be worth a flier of a couple million dollars to a team like the Vikings who are cap-strapped ($1.45 million in space currently) and short on wide receiver talent.

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