Vikings Dubbed Top Landing Spot for All-Pro Pass Catcher

Kirk Cousins, Vikings

Getty Kirk Cousins talks with head coach Kevin O'Connell of the Minnesota Vikings prior to a game against the Washington Commanders in November 2022.

The Minnesota Vikings have a line on adding one more difference maker for the stretch run, but they need to act sooner than later.

The organization has been named as one of the top destinations for free agent wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., along with the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Dallas Cowboys. Beckham is expected back on the field within the next month but Bill Barnwell of ESPN reported on Thursday that his price will continue to climb in the meantime.

Has anybody made more money by not playing? Each week, struggling offenses across the NFL seem to get more and more desperate to add the 30-year-old Beckham, who could return soon from the torn ACL he suffered during the Super Bowl. As many as eight teams could make a credible argument for signing Beckham to improve their chances of competing this season.

The hope from Beckham’s camp is identical to what we saw when he left the [Cleveland] Browns a year ago: Land in a good situation, play well and earn a significant new deal in free agency. He pulled off steps one and two, but the knee injury cost him that contract. Now, having recovered, Beckham is in a position to flip a playoff race or help push a team toward the Super Bowl for the second consecutive season. If he can stay healthy, he’s still young and effective enough to earn a meaningful deal as a free agent.

Vikings Represent Perfect Opportunity for Beckham, Vice Versa

Odell Beckham Jr.

GettyWide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., formerly of the Los Angeles Rams, warms up before a game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on November 28, 2021.

Beckham and the Vikings are a perfect match for one another.

Pro Football Focus rates Minnesota’s offense seventh in the league and the team third overall through nine weeks. Kirk Cousins is also a top 10 quarterback, per PFF, with star complements in wideout Justin Jefferson (6th among 114 WRs) and tight end T.J. Hockenson (9th among 68 TEs) to flank Beckham. Both Dalvin Cook and Alexander Mattison rate out in the top half of NFL running backs.

Furthermore, the Vikings boast a win/loss record of 7-1 with a 4.5-game strangle hold on the NFC North Division and currently occupy the No. 2 seed in the conference. Minnesota squares off against the Bills in Buffalo this weekend, a game that quarterback Josh Allen is in danger of missing due to a sprained elbow.

The addition of Beckham to the Vikings offense would add another speedy receiver capable of creating separation on the outside without needing to be thrown open. Beckham freed up the Rams offense working opposite Cooper Kupp, exploiting single coverage and helping to loosen up the run game. If healthy, he should be able to accomplish the same in Minnesota.

Vikings Must Make Cap Maneuvers to Clear Space for Beckham

Justin Jefferson, Vikings

GettyWide receiver Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings carries the ball during the fourth quarter of a game against the Washington Commanders at FedExField on November 6, 2022, in Landover, Maryland.

Beckham has a chance to put together as good of a late-season/playoff run with the Vikings as he did last year with the Los Angeles Rams. Ironically, the Bills offer the three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro selection a similar opportunity. To a lesser degree, so do the Ravens.

However, Jeremy Fowler of ESPN reported Wednesday that there are complications with each of those organizations as optimal locations for Beckham.

“The Bills remain a solid fit, but they are big on chemistry and might not want to disrupt what’s working well for them right now,” Fowler wrote. “Here’s one: the Ravens. This isn’t a receiver-friendly offense, but with Rashod Bateman out, Beckham might vibe with a Lamar Jackson connection.”

More likely, Beckham would prefer an offense more reliant on passing the ball down the field. Minnesota can offer him that, as well as the chance to play alongside Jefferson, his good friend and fellow LSU alumni. Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell also served as Beckham’s offensive coordinator during their Super Bowl run last year, which should make a transition to Minnesota’s offense smoother than any of his other options.

The Cowboys probably present the best situation of all Beckham’s suitors, aside from the Vikings. Dallas is currently two games back in the NFC East Division at 6-2 with a solid quarterback/receiver tandem in Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb.

However, ESPN’s Dan Graziano pointed out the flaws with that pairing on Wednesday.

“The Cowboys aren’t Odell Beckham away from the Super Bowl,” Graziano wrote. “The Cowboys are actually fine without him. I think the best thing for Beckham would be to go to a team that doesn’t obviously need him, as he did last year, and find a way to thrive in a specific, smaller role.”

The primary obstacle to signing Beckham in Minnesota will be fitting him under the team’s available salary cap space, which currently stands at $1.7 million. The Vikings hinted at their intention to make another meaningful move in free agency on November 5 when they restructured the deal of Pro-Bowl right tackle Brian O’Neill to open up nearly $1.5 million in cap room.

The Vikings probably need to make at least one more contract alteration on their roster to open up the space for Beckham, whose price continues to rise.

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