Vikings Named Top Destination For Elite Free Agent Receiver

Cousins, Jefferson, Vikings

Getty Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings reacts after scoring a touchdown with teammate Kirk Cousins in the first quarter of the game against the Pittsburgh Steelersat U.S. Bank Stadium on December 09, 2021 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

The Minnesota Vikings boast one of the best complements of wide receivers in the game, and their personnel at the position may yet improve substantially before the year is out.

Odell Beckham Jr. remains a free agent following his Super Bowl run with the Los Angeles Rams last season. Before tearing his ACL in the second quarter of the championship game, the wideout proved an instrumental cog in an offense contrived and implemented by Vikings rookie head coach Kevin O’Connell.

Adam Schefter of ESPN has projected Beckham’s return timetable somewhere in mid-November. As he draws nearer to his decision on where to play, a handful of quality teams have emerged as frontrunners for Beckham’s services. The Vikings, while something of a lower key option than others to this point, deserve to be considered at the top of the list.

Judd Zulgad of The Vikings Wire laid out Minnesota’s case on Wednesday, October 19, which includes close relationships with O’Connell and receiver Justin Jefferson, along with the Vikings’ current position as one of the NFL’s best teams a third of the way through the season.

Beckham Has Ties to Several Prominent Members of Vikings Roster

Odell Beckham

Getty Wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, warms up before Super Bowl LVI against the Cincinnati Bengals at SoFi Stadium on February 13, 2022 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

Zulgad proffered that Jefferson and Beckham have likely been in contact over the last several weeks, considering their LSU connection and that the young Vikings star once equated Beckham to a brother.

Other prominent players in Minnesota also played their college ball at Beckham’s alma mater — including pass rusher Danielle Hunter and cornerback Patrick Peterson — and were characterized by Zulgad as friends of the free agent receiver.

Beckham would also fit into the Vikings’ offensive scheme with relative ease, given how closely it resembles the structure in which he thrived in Los Angeles. And it doesn’t hurt that O’Connell has only ever spoken glowingly of Beckham since their brief time together.

“I give Odell so much credit. He’s been such a joy to be around,” O’Connell said prior to the Super Bowl in February. “I think the greatest thing for me has been learning about the person. He’s an unbelievable person. His teammates love him and then, also, he loves football.”

Vikings Offense Could Use Spark That Beckham Would Provide

Kevin O'Connell

GettyKevin O’Connell has led the Minnesota Vikings to a 5-1 record through the first six games of his head coaching career.

A reunion between Beckham and O’Connell wouldn’t be a one-way street. As much sense as the match makes for the receiver, it makes equal sense for the franchise.

“The Vikings are off to a 5-1 start, but it’s clear O’Connell’s offense isn’t as explosive as he would like,” Zulgad wrote. “Beckham could help change that and also create more opportunities against defenses that are often hyper-focused on Jefferson. Adam Thielen remains a reliable target for Kirk Cousins, but he’s averaging a career-low 9.8 yards per catch.”

Minnesota ranks ninth in passing yards per game at 242 and just 19th in total yards per game at 339.8, per statistics provided by ESPN. The Vikings sit just above the middle of the pack at 14th in scoring, averaging 23.2 points per game.

Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk on Wednesday also discussed the possibility of Beckham joining the Vikings.

“Beckham could be a move that would help the Vikings do something more than get to the divisional round and lose to a better team,” Florio wrote. “Maybe Beckham could help the Vikings be that better team.”

Read More