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:
- #2 Donte Foster
- #11 Josh Cooper
- #12 Kamar Jorden
- #13 Kain Colter
- #14 Erik Lora
- #15 Greg Jennings
- #17 Jarius Wright
- #19 Adam Thielen
- #81 Jerome Simpson
- #83 Rodney Smith
- #84 Cordarrelle Patterson
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.