Vikings Advised to Trade Starting WR

K.J Osborn, Justin Jefferson, Jordan Addison

Getty Vikings starting wide receivers K.J. Osborn (17), Jordan Addison (3) and Justin Jefferson (18) in the team's 2023 season opener.

The writing was on the wall for K.J. Osborn when the Minnesota Vikings drafted Jordan Addison in the first round of the 2023 draft.

Osborn, entering the final year of his contract, is unlikely to re-sign given the T.J. Hockenson extension and Justin Jefferson‘s pending mega contract will eat up significant cap space. Addison already looks like a strong No. 2 wide receiver to play alongside Jefferson for at least the next four seasons on a discounted rookie deal.

Meanwhile, Osborn will likely command interest in free agency this offseason, and wide receiver-needy teams, will outbid the Vikings.

KSTP’s Darren Wolfson advised the Vikings to trade Osborn before the NFL trade deadline on October 31 and gain some draft capital back for the fifth-round pick invested in Osborn back in 2020.

“We knew the second Jordan Addison was drafted that K.J. Osborn wasn’t coming back,  that this is the final year for K.J. Osborn here in Minnesota,” Wolfson said on SKOR North’s “Mackey and Judd” podcast on October 19. “Go make that move — if it’s for a four, three a five. To me, that is very logical.”

Wolfson added that the Los Angeles Chargers and Houston Texans are teams who are logical landing spots for Osborn, who could garner anywhere from a third- to fifth-round pick.

Vikings WR K.J. Osborn Projected to Strike Nearly $10 Mil a Year in Free Agency

K.J. Osborn, Vikings

GettyWide receiver K.J. Osborn of the Minnesota Vikings warms up before the NFC Wild Card Playoff Game against the New York Giants in January 2023.

Osborn has exceeded expectations of his fifth-round draft status despite a rocky start his rookie year.

After not playing a single offensive snap and losing his punt return role in 2020, Osborn seized hold of the No. 3 wide receiver spot behind Jefferson and Adam Thielen the next season.

He’s been steady ever since.

Osborn averaged 55 receptions and 652.5 yards receiving the past two seasons. He’s also shown a penchant for making clutch plays, scoring 12 total touchdowns in that span. He scored a walk-off game-winner in Carolina back in 2021 and scored the go-ahead touchdown with 45 seconds remaining in a Week 3 win over the Detroit Lions in 2022.

Over The Cap appraised Osborn’s value in free agency to garner a deal worth $9.05 million annually — a price tag that Minnesota may be unwilling to match if Osborn garners an offer of that stature.

Vikings Have Many Roster Holes to Fill in 2024

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings

GettyGeneral manager Kwesi Adofo-Mensah of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota may have nearly $56 million in cap space to work with next offseason, but the roster turnover will lead to many difficult decisions and letting some starting-level talent walk.

Including Osborn, six starters are playing on expiring contracts: Kirk Cousins, Danielle Hunter, Marcus Davenport, Jordan Hicks and Ezra Cleveland.

Signing two pass rushers and potentially a quarterback is a costly shopping list for any front office, let alone a front office that will have to make Jefferson one of the highest-paid players in the league next year.

Only 39 players are under contract beyond the 2023 season, meaning the Vikings will have to reload roster depth as well.

Minnesota has to consider whether it can keep some of these players or if it should recoup some draft capital in preparation for a roster rehaul.

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