Super Bowl Champion ‘Leader in the Clubhouse’ to Fill Key Role for Vikings

Brando Powell, Minnesota Vikings

Getty Brandon Powell #4 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Minnesota Vikings wide receivers Justin Jefferson and Jordan Addison form one of the NFL’s more potent wide receiver duos. But there is a void at the No. 3 receiver slot with K.J. Osborn off to the New England Patriots in free agency this offseason.

The Vikings have a few options that profile as potential options. They are high on 2022 sixth-round pick Jalen Nailor’s potential. The Vikings also signed Trent Sherfield in free agency.

However, veteran Brandon Powell was the guy for most of the Vikings’ offseason program.

“Who is going to take the spot up for grabs behind Jefferson and Addison? It looks like shifty receiver Brandon Powell is the leader in the clubhouse based on his amount of reps with the starters,” the Pioneer Press’ Dave Mizutani wrote on June 14.

A member of the 2021 Super Bowl Champion Los Angeles Rams, the 5-foot-8 Powell caught 29 passes for 344 yards and one touchdown for the Vikings last season. He played 36% of the offensive snaps and 17% on special teams, per Pro Football Reference.

Osborn saw at least 75% of the Vikings’ offensive snaps over the last two seasons and 68% the year before.

That would be a a sizeable jump for Powell.

Super Bowl Champ Brandon Powell Could Be Primed for Big Role in Vikings’ Offense

Brando Powell, Minnesota Vikings

GettyBrandon Powell #4 of the Minnesota Vikings.

Powell – who turns 29 years old in September – re-signed with the Vikings in March this offseason, inking a one-year, $2 million contract. It is a modest figure, though it also represents the third-highest cap hit among the Vikings’ receivers. Only Jefferson and Addison are higher.

Powell had a few notable performances for the Vikings last season, recording at least three catches and 30 yards in a game six times last season. He crossed the 40-yard mark four times.

He had 64 yards on four grabs (season highs) in a Week 7 win over the San Francisco 49ers.

Last season was Powell’s best season as a pro. It came amid an unexpectedly increased role with Jefferson missing seven weeks with a hamstring injury. A change at quarterback could lead to an increased emphasis on the running game, which could eat into Powell’s opportunities.

The Vikings already checked in near the middle of the league in how often they used three-receiver sets, per

Sam Darnold is QB1 entering training camp. He could benefit from leaning into that trend.

Jalen Nailor Must Stay Healthy to Seize Opportunity

Jalen Nailor, Minnesota Vikings

GettyJalen Nailor #83 of the Minnesota Vikings.

“The other player to keep an eye on is speedy Jalen Nailor, assuming he can stay healthy during training camp,” Mizutani wrote.

Nailor, 25, had three grabs for 29 yards last season, making just six appearances while dealing with injuries. He is bigger than Powell a 6-feet and logged nine receptions for 179 yards and one score for the Vikings in 2022.

Nailer is entering the third year of a four-year, $3.8 million contract.

His 2024 cap hit is less than Powell’s at $985,000. But the length of his contract could warrant more opportunities to prove himself in training camp.

The Vikings will have additional targets available. Tight end T.J. Hockenson is expected to miss some of the regular season recovering from a torn ACL and MCL suffered late last season. Backup Nick Muse underwent a procedure this offseason too, per Head Coach Kevin O’Connell.

Be it Powell, Nailor, or someone else, that adds to the importance of finding a viable third option among the wide receiver corps for the Vikings.