Jun 17, 2014; Eden Prairie, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson (84) rests at practice at Winter Park. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Minnesota Vikings Position Battle: Wide Receivers

It’s that time of year where a team is loaded up on talent at many positions.  Sadly, not all of those players will go on to make the 53 man roster or the practice squad.  This the the seventh installment in the Minnesota Vikings position battle series and is all about the wide receivers!

Let’s take a look at the wide receivers currently on the roster:

Here’s a quick breakdown of each of these guys:

Donte Foster had a wonderful combine and saw his stock rise, becoming a priority free agent following the draft this year.  His numbers with the Ohio Bobcats got better every year that he played.  He ended up with 21 total touchdowns in his college career and has a chance to show off that type of play during preseason this year.

Jul 30, 2012; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Cooper (88) runs after a catch during training camp at the Cleveland Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

Josh Cooper came over from the Cleveland Browns after his release recently.  He worked with offensive coordinator Norv Turner while in Cleveland and will get another chance to do so with  the Minnesota Vikings this year.  It’s interesting to think about whether or not Turner had something to do with Cooper being brought in and given a shot.

Kamar Jorden could very well be on his last chance with an NFL team.  He got his first chance with the Minnesota Vikings in 2012, then played for the Spokane Shock and Calgary Stampeders before joining the team again this year.  If Jorden can’t grab a role on either the 53 man roster or the practice squad this year, don’t expect him to get another opportunity with the team.

Kain Colter is a jack of all trades.  He’s played running back, wide receiver, and quarterback.  If fans are missing that Joe Webb type of freakish athlete, this could be the guy that they might want to support.  He did most of his damage as a wide receiver at the college level, so it is no surprise that he will be primarily a pass catcher with the Minnesota Vikings.

Dec 13, 2013; Charleston, IL, USA; Eastern Illinois Panthers wide receiver Erik Lora (8) celebrates a touchdown during the first quarter against the Towson Tigers at O

Erik Lora could surprise people this year.  He put up freakish numbers at Eastern Illinois with Jimmy Garoppolo as his quarterback and could look to compete for a job on the main roster.  He could be an excellent possession type receiver if he can play up to his full potential.  He’s one to watch in training camp.

Greg Jennings will turn 31 years old this year.  After 7 seasons with the Green Bay Packers, Jennings came to Minnesota and was somewhat disappointing.  He only totaled 4 touchdowns, but accumulated over 800 yards receiving.  He’s the most established pass catcher on the team and should be a team leader at the position.

Jarius Wright is a former 4th round draft pick who is entering his third year with the team.  While he looks like a game-changer on some plays, other times he seems invisible to his quarterback.  Hopefully, he can break out this year and have career highs in catches and yards under the guidance of ne offensive coordinator Norv Turner.

Aug 16, 2013; Orchard Park, NY, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Adam Thielen (19) before the game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium. Bills beat the Vikings 20-16. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Thielen is the hometown boy.  Born in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, he played his college ball at Minnesota State.  Fans of local sports have grown to really root for Thielen to succeed.  Thielen isn’t disappointing, either.  He’s been singled out from coaches and staff as one of the most impressive players of training camp and OTAs.

Jerome Simpson is one of the most polarizing figures on the team.  His problems with the law are well documented, but he showed proficiency in the long distance passing game and helped out Ponder and Cassel when trying to get first downs last year.  This year, he’ll have a backup role after signing back with the Minnesota Vikings for cheap.

Aug 29, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Rodney Smith (83) makes a catch and brings it down to the one yard line in the third quarter against the Tennessee Titans at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Marilyn Indahl-USA TODAY Sports

Rodney Smith is another guy to watch.  Fans of the Purple People Podcast know that I’m very high on Smith and feel that with a little more polish that he can develop into a very solid wide receiver and end zone threat.  He spent time on the Minnesota Vikings practice squad last year until he was promoted to the 53.  Hopefully he can find his way there again.

Cordarrelle Patterson “flashed” brilliance several times last year.  He fought off Jerome Simpson for the starting job opposite Greg Jennings and also contributed in a major way on special teams.  While some players experience a sophomore slump, I’m expecting Patterson to be a sophomore sensation in his first year as a full time starter.

My Prediction

Here are the players I see making the 53 man roster:

  • Greg Jennings
  • Cordarrelle Patterson
  • Jarius Wright
  • Jerome Simpson
  • Rodney Smith
  • Adam Thielen

Analysis of My Prediction

It should be a given that Jennings, Patterson and Wright are destined for the main roster.  Past that, we’ll see competition between a lot of guys that will be fighting for spots on the 53 and the practice squad.  I felt that Simpson did well enough last year to be considered a more than capable backup and asset for the team. Them we’re left with the hard part.  I decided to take six wide receivers on the Minnesota Vikings roster because of how Adam Thielen has been flashing during camp so far and the sheer physical ability of Rodney Smith.

I had a hard time debating between Thielen and Lora for the team.  They’re both talented young players who could contribute in a pinch when needed.  However, I only see one of them making the final roster, and I decided to go with Thielen because I really believe he will continue to play will this preseason and earn his spot.

We should see Lora and the rest of the young guys fighting for a spot on the practice squad.

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Tags: Cordarrelle Patterson Greg Jennings Jarius Wright Minnesota Vikings Rodney Smith

  • Tim Clark

    I agree that Thielen will be WR5 if he continues to impress in camp, the only questions being 1) whether the team will carry 5 or 6 wideouts, and 2) will Smith or Colter make it as WR6. I think Colter and Lora might get snatched by another team if we try to stash them on the PS.

    • https://www.facebook.com/PurplePeoplePodcast Adam Carlson

      Absolutely agree. Lots of young talent on this roster at WR. Whoever ends up on the practice squad could end up getting poached.

  • Todd Robinson

    I actually like Thielen’s chances better than Smiths. He continues to shine on the practice field (as he did last year) and seems to have soft hands and very good speed. I can’t help but feel he’d make this WR corps better, being one who has worked his way into a starting role, with years of hard work. Give him a chance coach. He’s earned it!

  • http://batman-news.com Northwoods

    “…..rose his stock….” ????? The active form of the verb would be “He raised his stock.” “Rose” is used as passive past tense (“His stock rose.”)
    I think it’s hard to select the last 1 or 2 WR’s at this time – pretty easy to make a splash wearing shorts and Tshirts, with fewer defenders covering you. Wait until they put on pads and start hitting – we’ll see the cream rising to the top.

    • https://www.facebook.com/PurplePeoplePodcast Adam Carlson

      I’ve had a couple grammatical errors in the last few articles. I’ll fix it up.

  • Jake

    I would like to see Theilen and Smith both make the final roster. I’ve heard Turner likes to carry 6 WR’s, we’ll see I guess. I’m sure Simpson’s possible suspension will weigh into things pretty heavily. Simpson may not even make the final 53 if he picks up another 4 game ban. I think Simpson played well last year and he should be brought back based on his performance but we’ll see how tough Zimmer is if/when he picks up that suspension. If Theilen has the wheels everyone says he has he could make Simpson expendable. It would also be nice to have Smith on the roster as that large redzone target. Smith and Rudolph on the field together in redzone situations could give them a bit of an edge.

  • John Daniels

    Good read, I agree 100%. I think or at least hope the WRs to make the final cut will be as you have listed with hopefully Lora making the PS-hopefully another udfa wide out will shine enough to make the PS as well. I’m thrilled with the players we have as WR & would be even more so if Thieman & Smith both make strides this year. As far as the starters, it’s likely going to be very exciting watching Flash & Jennings should put up solid numbers & those two starting will open up room for Jarius Wright to have his break out year & allow Simpson to have another solid years as well. Add in Rudolph & an emerging Chase Ford with wildcard AC Leonard, as well as dynamic, newcomer McKinnon with Peterson who imho has always been more than capable to be a huge threat in the passing game & will finally be more utilized & it is hard to argue that Minnesota won’t have a very dangerous passing attack.

  • MikeH123

    The ideal would be for the Vikings to teach Patterson the X, and keep Jennings at Z and Wright at slot. But Turner is moving Patterson from X to Z, probably because he has done little to demonstrate deep threat skills at X. The problem is Jennings is then forced into the slot and Wright to backup. Worse yet, Simpson (4.47-40) or Thielen (4.46-40) are left as two comparitively slow deep threats. Then again, lacking a big arm at QB, they may be moving to some kind of dink and dunk offense with 3 slot WRs: Patterson, Jennings and Wright. AD is the wrong RB for that offense so they may as well move to McKinnon.

    • Bob T

      Alshon Jeffery runs a 4.48- 40 and Brandon Marshall runs a 4.52- 40. I’m not looking for an argument. I’m just saying.SKOL VIKINGS

      • MikeH123

        I wonder about the Bear’s X WR 40 time: “the Carolina wide receiver Ashlon Jeffrey may have given his stagnating draft stock a big boost on Wednesday. Working out at his school’s pro day event in front of representatives from a number of NFL teams, Jeffery was clocked at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash, according to Kevin Weidl of ESPN.

        • Bob T

          Alex Roberts Bleacher report article on March 28th 2012 disputes Weidl’s timing, saying it was actually 4.47. The 2012 combine shows 4.5.Any way I think Theilen and Simpson have comparable speed to two very good W.R.s

          • MikeH123

            Jeffrey has been an enigma. He was fat in college and couldn’t get seperation. His speed was disputed. Apparently he is one of the fastest WRs after getting a slow start to 10 yards. Maybe that is the reason he had success at the end of last year.

            Maybe Simpson also has this building speed but he didn’t look like he got good separation to me.

            Marshall’s speed is irrelevant for comparison to X WRs since he is the Z WR.

          • MikeH123

            This could explain Jeffrey’s new found speed: “in 2013, a slimmer and fitter Jeffery went from good to great, from a decent talent to a Pro Bowl selection.” For all I know he increased his speed with steroids.

  • Gordon Guffey

    Adam Thielen and Rodney Smith are my favorites to win the 5th and 6th WR ~ However I will pull for whoever the Vikings keeps on the roster ~ I do believe Thielen makes it this year on the 53 man roster ~ Just a gut feeling ~